# An introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification System

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An introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification System
Do you know Dewey? An introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification System John F. Kennedy Elementary School Library

You can find books at the Kennedy School Library, the Roosevelt Middle School Library, the Carnegie-Stout Public Library, and MOST libraries thanks to the Dewey Decimal Classification (also know as “DDC”). It is used to locate and store books on shelves in the library.

Meet Dewey Melvil Dewey was a librarian who invented a DECIMAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM for library books. This classification system is called the Dewey Decimal System! Melvil Dewey also founded the American Library Association in 1876 and published the first Library Journal AND he opened the first library school in 1887! Libraries would not be the same without him!

What is the difference between
QUICK QUESTION TIME! What is the difference between FICTION and NON-FICTION?

FICTION books are made up by the author and are NOT TRUE.
NON-FICTION books are about REAL things, people, places and events and ARE TRUE.

Now that you know who Dewey is and have reviewed fiction vs
Now that you know who Dewey is and have reviewed fiction vs. non-fiction, let’s get started on learning more about this famous classification system! Here we go!

How to find FICTION and NON-FICTION books in the library:
FICTION books are found in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. All the books written by the same author will be located together in the fiction collection.

NON-FICTION books are found according to SUBJECT.
If you wanted to find a book about skateboarding, you will find ALL books about skateboarding in the same area. Books written by DIFFERENT authors about ONE subject. (Non-fiction books are not shelved by the author’s name). 796.22 is the call number for books about skateboarding

A call number is a group of numbers and/or letters that tell you the location of a book in a library. Just like you have a street address in your city, a book has a shelf address in a library! If you have been invited to someone’s house, you need to know the address to be able to find it.

A book address is it’s CALL NUMBER.
A call number is located on the spine of a book. Once you find the call number from the online catalog (we’ll learn how to do that later), it’s time to go find your book!

The Left to Right, Top to Bottom Rule!
To find a book on the shelf, start at the left on the top shelf and move to the right until the shelf end. Go to the next shelf underneath and do the same! When you get to the bottom shelf, move UP to the top shelf of the next SECTION and do the same!!

Think of the library shelves as bookcase sections.
Left to right and top to bottom.

FICTION BOOKS Fiction books are indicated with an “F” on the first line (for Fiction) and the second line indicates the first 3 letters of the author’s LAST name: This is what the spine label would look like for a book written by Roald Dahl. F DAH

Use the online catalog to locate the shelf area for a fiction book by searching by
TITLE or AUTHOR. . . TITLE SEARCHES should be the exact title, if possible Example: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory AUTHOR SEARCHES are done using the last name first Example: Dahl, Roald.

NON-FICTION BOOKS A call number for a non-fiction book looks like this: For non-fiction books, BOTH the subject call NUMBER and the first three LETTERS of the author’s name, help to keep the library organized! This is the call number for a book about skateboarding, written by Tony Hawk. 796.2 HAW

Look for the painted bricks to guide you!
Use the online catalog to find the call number of a subject you are looking for . . . Once you have the number for the book you need, you can go find the right shelf. Look for the painted bricks to guide you!

The books on each shelf are arranged in number order on the first line and by the first 3 letters of the author’s name on the second line. They are in number order FIRST (to keep the subject or topics together), and alphabetically by the author’s last name. 398.2 BRE 398.2 GRI 398.25 BRE

You will probably notice that when you find a specific book, other books shelved around it are usually books about similar subjects. That’s how the DDC is arranged— by SUBJECT.

and on and on and on and on!
All of the books about insects are near each other on the shelf, all of the books about horses are near each other, all of the books about weather are near each other and on and on and on and on!

The DDC is divided into 10 “categories” or subject areas.
The major Dewey Decimal divisions are: 000 - Generalities Philosophy & Psychology Religion Social Science Language Natural Science & Mathematics Technology & Applied Sciences Arts Literature Geography & History

You’ll see all of these numbers on the LEFT side of the decimal point
You’ll see all of these numbers on the LEFT side of the decimal point. But what about the numbers on the RIGHT side of the decimal point? 796.22

The numbers on the right side are used to divide a specific subject into EVEN MORE specific parts of a subject. 700’s ~ Arts and Recreation 796 ~ Athletic & outdoor sports & games ~ Skateboarding ~ Football ~ Baseball 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!

Look at the call number to find the type of book you are looking for!
When doing a subject search about baseball, you will find both fiction and non-fiction book titles: Baseball Jokes and Riddles by Matt Christopher 818 CHR The Catcher’s Mask by Matt Christopher F CHR Baseball Just For Kids by Jerry Kasoff KAS Baseball’s Hall of Fame by Harvey Frommer 920 FRO Casey Back at Bat by Dan Gutman 811 GUT Abner and Me: A Baseball Card Adventure by Dan Gutman F GUT

Some examples of books in the DDC that are fiction:
Don’t let this confuse you! ALL books COULD be classified under the Dewey Decimal System . . . . . .just because it is IN the nonfiction section does not mean it is NOT FICTION. Some examples of books in the DDC that are fiction: Folk and Fairy Tales 398.2 and Poetry 811

The Dewey Decimal Classification number for fiction books is 813.
Dividing the library into fiction chapter books, picture books, and biographies helps to further divide the library so that books are easier to find!

What have you learned about the DDC?
What section of the library would YOU find the following books in the Kennedy School Library?

000 - Generalities 100 - Philosophy &
000 - Generalities Philosophy & Psychology Religion Social Science Language Natural Science & Mathematics Technology & Applied Sciences Arts Literature Geography & History Sign Language for Kids by Lora Heller 419 HEL

000 - Generalities 100 - Philosophy &
000 - Generalities Philosophy & Psychology Religion Social Science Language Natural Science & Mathematics Technology & Applied Sciences Arts Literature Geography & History A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein 811 SIL

Dubuque, Iowa: Then & Now
000 - Generalities Philosophy & Psychology Religion Social Science Language Natural Science & Mathematics Technology & Applied Sciences Arts Literature Geography & History Dubuque, Iowa: Then & Now by John Tigges TIG

Books can really take you places!