Gillian Bartoo is the District Cataloger for Cambridge Public Schools in Cambridge, MA.
Why do books about the struggle for civil rights in America end up in social sciences (3XX) rather than history (97X)? The same way lots of books end up in “weird” places in school libraries: the original cataloger followed the rules for assigning Dewey call numbers. The most basic rule is that you catalog to describe the content of the book and to fit that content into an imaginary library of all published knowledge using the scheme Dewey laid out. It means catalogers don’t consider the intended audience, the context in which a work might be used, or where any given individual might expect to find it shelved. Often, this does not bode well for small, specialized libraries such as our school libraries which carry books with simplified content that caters to a young and still intellectually developing patron group.
Ellen Brandt is a librarian at the Blanchard Middle School in Westford, MA
and a winner of the MSLA Web Seal of Excellence
On Friday, February 26, 2016, Maya Bery and the Northeast Area MSLA hosted a very successful get together at the Carlisle School. The focus of this “Local Events by Local Members” was “Collections and Resources”.
8 school librarians gathered at the Carlisle School to discuss “Ditching Dewey,” share ideas, tour an exemplary library (as it transitions to exemplary Learning Commons), socialize, and enjoy dinner together.
Maya described her experiences with re-organizing her nonfiction collection into genres and also with transitioning from Library to Learning Commons. She demoed a couple of new technologies; turning herself into a human Keyboard with a MaKey MaKey (courtesy of Watertown Free Public Library) and cruising our table with a programmable Bee-bot.