Welcome Library Explorers!
What is Library Explorers Club?
What are those numbers at the bottom of the spine of the book? Come and find out!
Join us every month as we explore a different class in the Dewey Decimal System! Learn how to find books around the library, and have a chance to impress family and friends with interesting facts!
Work at your own pace at home over the month or join us on the last Saturday of the month!
How it works:
There will be different themes each month related to a particular Dewey Decimal range. Each month, you will
Choose a nonfiction book (or audio book or watch a documentary or episode from a non-fiction television show) from one of the themes and share something you found interesting.
Choose 1 of the activities within that theme. There are 4 options. You only have to do one. Anything beyond that is optional!
Don't like the themes? Go with the Free Choice option!
Track your progress online through Wandoo* or a paper Library Passport.
Explore the library over the course of the year to collect digital badges or Passport stickers and earn prizes!
You can find descriptions of each month's Dewey Decimal range, activities, and anything you may want to print below!
*Wandoo Reader is the website used for the Online Summer Library Club. If you tracked or logged your reading online this summer, you can use the same log-in information!
April 2020 : Explore the 800s!
Choose any other topics covered by the 800s and share an interesting fact you learn!
There are no specific activities for free choice! To earn your badge, make something or write a story related to the topic you chose!
What is the Dewey Decimal System?
The Dewey Decimal System is a way to organize books in a library based on subject - what they are about. It was created by Melville Dewey in the 1870s, and first published in 1876.
It is designed using base 10 (yes, math).
There are 10 Classes
000 - General Knowledge; 100 - Philosophy & Psychology; 200 - Religion; 300 - Social Sciences; 400 - Language; 500 - Science; 600 - Technology; 700 - Art & Recreation; 800 - Literature; 900 - History & Geography
which are broken into 10 divisions
500 - Science; 510 - Mathematics; 520 - Astronomy; 530 - Physics; 540 - Chemistry; 550 - Earth Science & Geology; 560 - Fossils; 570 - Biology; 580 - Plants; 590 - Animals
which are further divided into 10 sections
590 - Animals; 591 - Specific topics in natural history of animals; 592 - Invertebrates; 593 - Miscellaneous marine & seashore invertebrates; 594 - Mollusks; 595 - Spiders and Insects; 596 - Fish; 597 - Cold-blooded vertebrates (reptiles & amphibians); 598 - Birds; 599 - Mammals
These whole numbers are followed by a decimal point, and the decimal number that follows allows books to be sorted into even narrower categories.
599.1 - Platypus; 599.2 - Marsupials; 599.3 - Rodents & Insectivores; 599.4 - Bats; 599.5 - Whales & Dolphins; 599.6 - Elephants & Hooved animals; 599.7 - Cats, Dogs, and Bears; 599.8 - Non-human Primates; 599.9 - Humans
And they can go on and on! Dewey Decimal numbers can be very broad, stopping at just one, two, or three decimal points, or they can be very specific!
As you use Dewey more, you'll notice that some numbers are almost repetitive - General science experiment guides will be found at 507. Collections of Physics experiments will be found at 530.7, and Chemistry experiments will be under 540.7!
Problems with Dewey:
The Dewey Decimal System isn't perfect. Some of the complaints people have are:
It has an inherent bias towards the Western world (Europe and the United States). In the 200s (Religion) Christianity gets 7 divisions! Other world religions have to share just 1 division, and religious beliefs from a variety of cultures, including Africa and Native Americans, are not even in the 200s but are included under fairy tales and folklore!
Language choices can be demeaning - For example, "Social Problems" doesn't sound too bad... until you realize it classifies physical disabilities, learning disorders, and mental health under "Social Welfare Problems!"
Times change, and some topics, such as feminism, women in general, and minorities, were not given much importance by society or Melville Dewey in the 1800s and therefore don't have good call number options.
Topics don't always stay together. Are you interested in learning more about the military? Check the 350s for general information about branches of the military, the 623s for books about military vehicles and equipment, and the 900s for specific battles, wars, and units!
So why do we still use it? In short, no library cataloging system is perfect, and many of the established systems have the same problems as Dewey. We could create our own cataloging system, but this is a lot of work and basically means reinventing the wheel. Instead, we've chosen to continue using Dewey while keeping these limitations in mind and doing our best to work around them.