How to catalogue books?

childrens-library-007I came across an amazing article questioning the usefulness of the Dewey Decimal System for cataloguing children’s books. The article describes the journey of four librarians who restructured the library at the Ethical Culture School in New York City.

They raised a number of issues such as: Do children need the 3 letters of the author on the book spine when many of the youngest members can’t read…?

“As we worked on developing ideas about categories and subcategories, their order, call numbers, and visual labels, we kept a few principles in mind. These principles became our navigational tools. Our system had to be…
  • Child-centred: it had to start from a student’s point of view and use appropriate language for our users.
  • Browsable: the order and the sections and subsections had to be clear not only to librarians, but also to students, faculty, and parents.
  • Flexible: it had to be capable of being adapted for use by a range of ages and be capable of evolving over time, as the world changed and our collection grew.”

The system these four librarians developed is called Metis and I think this is the way forward for little readers to get the most out of a library service.

Here are the links: