During library school, cataloguing was the most notoriously difficult class, and though I found it a challenge, I also found it appealed to a certain part of my brain. There's something immensely satisfying in puzzling out why an item has been categorized one way versus another, and what that choice reveals about the person who made the decision. Some books are very straightforward, but others could easily be a blend - especially in the holiday book section, as I'm currently finding. Where do you put a book with a St. Patrick's Day theme that isn't purely factual, but blends facts about the holiday with a story? Is it non-fiction? Fiction? If you put it in fiction, will you be doing students who want to find books on St. Patrick's Day a disservice?
These are the questions I find myself pondering as I work on automation, but as I've worked, I've noticed an interested, albeit somewhat frustrating (to me) trend. As I've said before, I rely on WorldCat and the Minuteman Library Network catalog to classify non-fiction books. I look up the book, find a call number, and use it. But with holiday books, I'm noticing a trend across the country to recategorize these books in their own call number: HOLIDAY. Gone are the Dewey Decimal categories for Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's Day or Christmas. Part of me understands this - it's easier to group all the holiday books together and then subdivide into the specific holiday name. I like the specificity offered by Dewey, which is why I've elected to categorize my books by it, but clearly I'm bucking the trend.
It's a hot topic in the school library world at the moment as well - whether to categorize a collection by subject/genre or by Dewey. Neither system is flawless, and I think my ideal is a blended system, where books are grouped together by topic but also organized by Dewey number, but it's interesting to see that this trend is very much in force in the holiday book section.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also (very occasionally) review children's and young adult literature on my book reviews page.
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