Dewey Decimal Classification
Who put the Dewey in the Dewey Decimal System?
Melvil Dewey lived an extraordinary life! He was born in Adams
Center, New York, on December 10, 1851, and died on December 26,
He was a librarian who invented a decimal classification system
for library books called the Dewey Decimal System.
In 1876, he founded the American Library Association and
published the first Library Journal, which included new library
trends and book reviews. Melvil opened the first library school in
1887 located at Columbia University.
Before we get started we're going to do a quick review. We are
going to cover the difference between fiction and non-fiction and
how to organize them. We will also discuss call numbers and what
they look like.
Fiction - Books that are made up by the author, or are not true,
Nonfiction - is the opposite of fiction.Books that are
nonfiction, or true, are about real things, people, events, and
Still confused?Well, here's another way to remember it: You can
only say no once. Fiction = not true Nonfiction = true
Fiction books are put on the shelf in alphabetical order by the
author's last name.Let's pretend you wrote a book and your last
name was Cleary. If kids liked your book, they would want to read
more of them, so by having your books in the same place it would
make finding them a lot easier.
Non-Fiction books are shelved by their subject's category For
example, if you wanted a book about cars, you would want them to be
in the same area. You wouldn't worry about the author, you would
just want the facts about cars.
Fiction and non-fiction books are shelved this way so you can
easily find the book of your choice.
If they weren't shelved this way, libraries would be in total
A call number is a group of numbers and/or letters put together
to tell you where in the library to find your book. A call number
is located at the bottom of the book on the spine. It helps you to
find your books quicker. Once you've got your call number from the
card catalog, it's time to go find your book!
This is where a call number is located:
Here's something to remember: Don't let it confuse you, but just
because it's a call number doesn't mean it has numbers! Some call
numbers are made up of letters. I'll show you some examples
Now, if you're having trouble finding your book on the
shelf,remember this rule for how the books are shelved:
That means you start at the left on the top shelf and move to
the right until the shelf ends. Then, you go to the next shelf
beneath that and do the same, left to right, top to bottom.
When you get to the end of the bottom shelf,
move up to the top shelf of the next section, and
What does a FICTION call number look like?We have been talking
about call numbers a whole lot. One thing we have not taught you is
what a call number looks like. We need to teach you how fiction and
Dewey call numbers are different.
F = Fiction McD = first 3 initials of the author's last name
Next, there is the call number that we use for nonfiction books
and that is the Dewey Decimal Number. A Dewey call number always
has three numbers to the left of the decimal.
To the right of the decimal, there is no limit on number. The
more numbers you add to the right of the decimal, the more specific
the subject is.
We are going to tell you how to remember what each of the Dewey
hundreds groups represents.One day, while Melvil Dewey was walking
in Central Park, he saw a UFO. He became terrified of it, and ran
to take cover.
The UFO approached Central Park with a loud noise and bright
lights surrounding it. A weird looking creature stepped out of the
space craft. Dewey got up from the ground and peeked out from
behind a tree.
They stood staring at each other, and then they got up enough
nerve to ask:
We think about ourselves: 100s - Psychology and Philosophy
Melvil and the alien looked at each other with puzzled
expressions and noticed how different they were from each other. As
they stood, they wondered to themselves:
Dewey realized that the alien's world must be very different
from the United States. He decided to take him to learn about our
Alien Story 700 800
People learn to get along together: 300s - Social Sciences
Dewey knew that the alien would need to learn how to communicate
400s - Languages We communicate with each other
Dewey and the alien began to stroll around, and Dewey explained
life on Planet Earth.
We learn about Nature and the world around us: 500s - Natural
Dewey explained to the alien that humans have changed Nature to
make life easier.
How we can make Nature useful? 600s - Applied Science
Dewey explained to the alien that technology has made life
easier on Planet Earth. It gives us more free time to do what we
want. Dewey and the alien took a spare moment to shoot hoops.
700s - Fine Arts and Recreation
800s - Literature
Dewey and the alien had a fabulous day. He invited the alien to
visit the library where he worked. Dewey gave him a tour of the
library and explained how his decimal classification system worked.
While there, they decided to make a memory of their day on Planet
Earth by making a scrapbook. They wrote what will become history
sooner or later - their day together!
900s - Geography and History
As the Alien prepared to leave, he told Dewey, "When I get back
to my planet, I want to group all my books in this new awesome way.
But, which hundred group should I put my scrapbook in?"Dewey
replied, "That's easy! You would put it in the 000s - General
Works. That's where we put encyclopedias because they contain so
much information that you can't describe them in one category!"
000s - General Works Encyclopedias, books about libraries,
museums, journalism, computers, and controversial or unexplained
100 - Philosophy and Psychology 150 - Psychology 155.2 -
Psychology for Kids 158.1 - Chicken Soup for the Soul 177 - Random
Acts of Kindness
200 - Religion
292 - Greek and Roman mythology 293 - 299 - World Religions -
Buddhism, Islam, Judaism
300 - Social Sciences (government, economics, law, education,
transportation, customs, folklore)
400 - Languages 419 - Structured verbal language other than
spoken or written Sign Language 420 - English 423 - Dictionaries
430 - German 440 - French 450 - Italian 460 - Spanish 470 - Latin
480 - Greek 490 - Other languages
500 - Natural Science 523 - The Universe - galaxies, solar
system, comets, sun, stars, etc. 551.2 - Volcanoes, earthquakes
551.5 - Meteorology - Weather, climate 552 - Rocks 595.1 - Worms
595.7 - Insects 597.9 - Reptiles
600 - Applied Science 611-612 - Human body 613.6 - Survival,
Complete Wilderness Training Book 629.1 - Airplanes 629.2 - Cars
629.4 - Space travel 636 - Pets 641.5 - Cooking 649.1 - Child care
700 - Fine Arts and Recreation 736 - Origami 741 - Drawing -
general 743 - Drawing by subject (cartoons, animals, etc.) 780s -
Music 793.73 - Games without action, puzzles, riddles (see also
398.6, 817-818) 796 - Sports 796.323 - Basketball 796.325 -
Volleyball 796.332 - Football 796.334 - Soccer 796.357 -
800 - Literature 811 - American Poetry 812 - Plays (American)
817 - Humor (see also 398.6, 793.73 and 818)818 - Miscellaneous
writings 822 - Plays (English) 822.33 - Shakespeare
900 - Geography and History 904 - Collected accounts of events,
disasters - Titanic 910.9 - Explorers 912 - Atlases 913 - Ancient
World 914 - Europe 915 - Asia 916 - Africa 917 - North America
929.4 - Personal Names, Baby Name Handbook. (NIC students like to
see what their names mean!) 930 - History of the Ancient World 932
- Ancient Egypt - Mummies (see also 393) 937 - Ancient Rome 938 -
Ancient Greece 940 - General History of Europe 940.1 - Medieval
History 940.53 - Holocaust 940.53 - 940.54 - World War 2 950 -
General History of Asia, Orient, Far East 960 - General History of