Dewey Decimal System

Melvil Dewey was a librarian who lived from 1851 to 1931. He was so unhappy with the way the books were NOT organized in his library that he created the Dewey Decimal System. This system is still used today in libraries and is what we use at the Barrie Public Library.

What is the Dewey Decimal System?

It's a system that breaks the non-fiction books up into different subjects, assigning a range of numbers to specific subjects. Each book is labelled with a specific call number according to its subject, so when items are put on the shelves in Dewey Decimal order, all the books on one subject will be together. This makes it easier for us to organize the shelves, and for you to find books when you need them. If you want a book about dinosaurs, you will find all the books about dinosaurs in the same area on the shelves, regardless of who the author is.

Here are examples of some subjects and their Dewey Decimal numbers:

UFOs and the Unexplained – 001
Weather – 551
Dinosaurs - 567
Crafts - 745
Sports – 796
Jokes & Riddles – 818

What is a Dewey Decimal Number?

A Dewey Decimal Number always has three numbers to the left of the decimal point. There is no limit to how many numbers can be after the decimal point. The more numbers that are added after the decimal, the more specific the subject. So by looking at the example below, you can see that a book with the number 567.9 will be about dinosaurs in general, but a book with 567.91290228 is about a specific dinosaur. 

J 560 Lin

"The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life"

This book is about all prehistoric life in general, including dinosaurs.

J 567.9 Bro

"The Day the Dinosaurs Died"

This book is about dinosaurs in general.

J 567.912 Les

"Giant Meat-Eating Dinosaurs"

Now it is getting more specific. This book is about many types of dinosaurs, but is limited to only those that ate meat.

J 567.9129 Gai

"Tyrannosaurus Rex"

This book is about a specific type of dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

J 567.91290228 McG

"T-Rex To Go - Build Your Own from Chicken Bones"

This book is a specific topic related to one type of dinosaur