Whole Number Dewey: A Year Without Decimals

Mrs. J in the Library

I'm Collette J., a full-time elementary teacher-librarian, blogger, and mama from Pennsylvania. I love technology, books in any format, makerspaces, and all things Harry Potter. The information and opinions represented here are my own and are not the views and opinions of any business or organization.

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16 Responses

  1. Deb Kachel says:

    PRU is an excellent statistical way to analyze the size of the collection in terms of its use. It answers the question – Do I have a large enough collection to meet the needs of my users (as evidenced in circulation)? It is so often misunderstood or inaccurately calculated. For it to be accurate, you must use a full school year of data comparing the size of the collection at the end of a school year with the circulation at the end of a full school year. This is because units of study (and thus when library resources are used and circulated) follow the sequence of the curriculum. So to capture all uses of library materials that are used to meet the school’s curriculum and students needs, you need a full school year of data. PRU is based on the premise that previous usage (last year’s) predicts future usage. Not always true, but a good predictor. I hope you try the PRU spreadsheet Collette shared. It is very interesting and often uncovers smaller areas/subjects of the collection that are heavily used that the librarian may not have recognized. For deeper analysis and lovers of statistics, you can expand the spreadsheet to calculate PRU by Dewey tens.

  2. Jenahlee says:

    I have been toying with the idea of “ditching dewey” for a while now. I was looking at the metis system but I’m liking this idea as a compromise between the two. My students are just struggling with finding books independently! I’ve thought about doing some subject categories in my early readers as a pilot because I am constantly getting those subject related requests from my students. We may try to pull out all the “princess” or “truck” books from all area and put them together on the shelf for a few weeks at a time just to see how kids react. I’m glad to see a new version of this change!

    • Collette J. says:

      Princess books is one that I’ve actually separated from the rest of the fairy tales/folktales because I get so many requests. Of course my definition of “princess” is pretty broad, but I just put a “fairy tale” sticker on it with a princess/tower image to identify them from the rest of the folktales/fairy tales.

      If you look through my earlier “How to Be Brave” posts, I also do something similar with my “easy nonfiction” section. They are mostly “Rookie Readers” that are aimed at K-1 students, and they are VERY popular.

    • cmargocs says:

      Jenahlee–I “inherited” a library that already had special sections for princess, Draw 50, Star Wars, and I Spy books–and they are heavily used on a daily basis! We also have a separate shelf for the DK Eyewitness and dog breed series of books.

      • Mrs. J in the Library says:

        In the last library I worked in, there were similar sections. I changed them up every few months like a display, and it did save some time and sanity.

  3. Mandy Lawson says:

    I just bought this set on TPT from you and I’m wondering something. Your photo above shows 599. Are there more signs that I need to buy because the set only came with 100s,200s, 300s, etc. I didn’t see 599 or any other numbers….just the hundreds.

    • Collette J. says:

      An update is on the way with ALL of the Dewey numbers I used. Sorry for the confusion and the wait! Once I reupload the files, you’ll be able to download the Dewey signs for popular elementary topics.

    • Mandy Lawson says:

      Thanks!!! could you please email me when you have the update! 🙂 [email address removed to protect commenter privacy]

      • Collette J. says:

        Of course! I just updated the file on TpT, so you should be able to download the updated product shortly.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I love this! Thank you…will go prder it on TpT this weekend. Is one magazine holder better than another? Do they tend to tip over when a child removes a book or books near it? Thanks!

    • Collette J. says:

      I have a link in the product to the ones I ordered when my supply of leftovers ran out. They are just normal ones from Demco, but the thicker the plastic, the better. Very occasionally they tip over, but I’ve solved this by putting a metal book end to the left or right of the magazine file boxes to keep the books standing up straight.

  5. Brandy says:

    I have two nonfiction sections, one for lower and one for upper and I have tubs for the most popular books. A tub for cats and a tub for dogs, one for football, one for basketball. It’s helped but I’m definitely thinking of going farther and going with whole number Dewey. I definitely think it would help the 900’s. I’m also thinking of “genrefying” the fiction section, we’ll see what my principal says. It just makes sense, since grade 3-5 all study genre. Wow!! I might have a very busy school year!!! Thanks for this post!

    • Thanks for reading! I’ve thought of doing tubs for the series first chapter books too. My “easy nonfiction” section has some basic categories like health, animals, science, biographies, careers, and geography.

  6. Heidi Anderson says:

    Yes!!! I have for a couple years now!! I also changed the system and just use the whole number then alphabetize. I always tell students stop at the dot then ABC order. This really worked, plus it is easier to shelve. It just gets too complicated after the dot.

    • I agree! After 2 years of Whole Number Dewey and re-stickering everything, I don’t regret the changes at all! I have more students browsing and helping each other find books too, so that helps me focus on helping the “tough customers” find books.

  1. July 31, 2015

    […] My search showed me that some libraries “genrefy” their fiction section, others use Whole-Number Dewey, while still others completely reclassify under a different system entirely. What’s clear to […]

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