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December 14, 2017

Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System is the most widely used classification system in the world. Over 135 countries around the globe use the Dewey Decimal, and it has been translated into 30 different languages. But, before the Dewey Decimal System, each library had its own way of organizing items. It was often difficult for people to find specific books in libraries. Library visitors would have to rely on the librarian to know where each item was shelved. And this was the same story when visitors would visit a new library; they would have to find out how to use a different system for each library they visited.

History Behind the Dewey

The Dewey Decimal System was created by 21-year-old Melvil Dewey and copyrighted in 1876. Born December 10th, 1851 in Adams Center, New York; his Dewey Decimal system revolutionized the libraries across the world. Melvil is considered the “Father of Modern Librarianship” and, more than any other individual, the founder of the library science. He was the also the founder of the American Library Association (ALA), co-founder and editor of The Library Journal, and helped to establish the first library school in the United States.

Learn more about Melvil Dewey's life! 

Teaching the Dewey Decimal System to Kids

Do it like Dewey! Here are three games and activities to teach children how to use the Dewey Decimal System when they visit the library.

Race for the Book

This game is perfect for teaching the Dewey Decimal System because it gets kids up and moving. It’s like an academic relay! Here’s how you play: divide students into two or three teams. Give each student a call number of a book. Each student must find their book and bring it to the next person in line to verify it is the right book before the next student can go find his own book. Whichever team is quickest and retrieves the correct books win!

Dewey Scavenger Hunt

Make a library scavenger hunt to teach kids how to find books using the Dewey Decimal System. Here is how you can create this activity.  Split the class into three or four groups. Give each team a set of instructions (try and give each team a different hunt, i.e. various books to find). In the first set of instructions lay out the rules of the hunt: no running, no yelling, finding the book for the next clue, etc. Each time the students locate the correct book, inside will be instructions for the next clue. Set out five clues and one final place to claim their prize. Whichever team completes the tasks wins!

Do You Know Dewey? Exploring the Dewey Decimal System 

For younger students, teaching the Dewey Decimal System may not be the most exciting thing. And let's be honest, it can be boring for librarians too! The book Do You Know Dewey?  by Brian P. Cleary is the perfect option when linking Dewey Decimal activities with a book. Read this book to the children to introduce the Dewey Decimal System and then play one of the games above.

Looking for more games? Check out Threaded Together's blog for a printable Dewey Decimal board game and bingo cards!

Dewey We Belong Together?

Our team at Alexandria takes pride in helping every library - regardless of size - achieve their goals. Whether you are looking for a totally customizable platform to fit your unique needs or a simple interface for students of all ages - we are your 24/7 support resource.

Learn how we belong together here! 

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