Dewey Decimal
Who put the
in the
Dewey Decimal System?
Melvil Dewey
an extraordinary life!
He was born in
Adams Center, New York, on
December 10, 1851,
and died on
December 26, 1931.
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,
are fiction
Nonfiction - is the opposite of
Books that are nonfiction, or true,
are about real things, people,
events, and places.
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 chaos !
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
I'll show you some examples later.
Now, if you're having trouble finding your book on
the shelf,
remember this rule for
how the books are shelved:
left-to-right, top-to-bottom
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 continue...
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 government.
700 800
People learn to get along together: 300s - Social
Dewey knew that the alien would need to learn how
to communicate with people.
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 Science.
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
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 topics.
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,
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 - babysitting
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 - Baseball
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 Africa

Dewey Decimal Classification