Have you ever wondered where the mysterious numbers come from on the spines of public library books? In fact, the library has staff who ensure that books are grouped with other books on similar topics so they can be easily discovered and browsed by customers.
Calgary Public Library staff use a numbering system called the Dewey Decimal Classification - named for its creator, Melville Dewey. Most public libraries, and many elementary school libraries use the same numbering system which groups books into 10 broad categories. Using the same system at all our branches is handy; if you use more than one public library branch, you will find the books and material labelled and arranged in the same order regardless of where you are.
Armed with your Dewey Decimal number you can find what you are looking for pretty easily. For example, when I drop my son off at Crowfoot Arena for his hockey practice, I usually pop into the Crowfoot Library and look for some budget recipe cookbooks. Hockey players eat a lot so I am always looking for recipes. The next day, when I’m down at the South Fish Creek Arena for my son's game, I visit the Shawnessy Library while he is doing his pre-game warm up. Using the same Dewey Decimal number I used at the Crowfoot Library, I can look for budget recipe cookbooks at the Shawnessy Library.
It's a useful shortcut in the same way that shopping at your neighbourhood grocery store is convenient because you know exactly where to go to get that last minute item you need for dinner. The Dewey Decimal System makes your library "shopping" and browsing a little bit easier!