Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL) finds a lot of value in the Dewey Decimal Classification System, which helps both library patrons and staff navigate library collections with ease. Dewey is helpful to EVPL staff in several key ways, including cataloging, subject analysis and patron service.
"Dewey provides us with a way of finding a specific title at a specific place on the shelf," says Dennis Brandewie, Oaklyn Branch Library. "It's a quick way to give our patrons a place to start browsing the shelves and uncover resources not detected through a simple catalog search."
Cataloging Manager Andrea Kappler said Dewey is helpful for making sure that books with the same focus on a topic are classified together consistently, regardless of subject headings or the order in which their subject headings appear in the catalog record. EVPL catalogers also benefit from a shelf-listing feature in EVPL's ILS by enabling them to quickly see if their Dewey numbers fit with other books classed in a given Dewey number.
Dewey helps EVPL staff analyze specific subject sections for collection development and weeding projects. According to Andrea, EVPL uses WebDewey 2.0 to fine-tune the Dewey ranges used in Collection HQ to make collection use analyses more useful. EVPL also uses Dewey to help provide meaningful names to those ranges.
EVPL's branch staff appreciate how Dewey numbers help them find materials in both adult and children's collections, which cover an extensive range of subjects. "When patrons ask where books on a specific subject are located, our staff can either provide the Dewey number or walk with the patrons to where they'll find the right section in the collections," says Dennis.
Dewey continues to be a viable tool for collection organization at EVPL. With about 95 percent of the public libraries in the US using the Dewey classification scheme, it seems fit for purpose for a long time to come.