Getting away from Dewey


Anonymous Patron writes " Helping library browsers# Claire Bott reports on More Readers Reading More THE TRADITIONAL ARRANGEMENT of libraries is off-putting to readers, Wiltshire's Lending/Communications Librarian Philip Tomes told an audience of librarians and publishers last week. Speaking at the launch of the Reading Agency's "More Readers Reading More", a title in celebration of the Reading Partners project which pairs up libraries with publishers for their mutual benefit, Tomes said:We're getting away from having ranks and ranks of Dewey Decimal System ordered books, and putting them into zones or categories that make it far easier for the reader. If you were after a relationship or self-help book, it would be very difficult to find in a traditional library.
The re-organising of the Wiltshire libraries is part of a joint initiative between the local Library Authority and HarperCollins, undertaken as part of Reading Partners. HarperCollins, which has been having success in bookshops with the You Zone, an area devoted to Mind Body Spirit, suggested that this was an idea which could be used by libraries, and this sparked the concept of re-arranging the books by category. Within each section, however, they are still organised according to the Dewey Decimal System.
        A roll-out of You Zones across libraries throughout the South East is now being considered. Ruth Wells, Reading Development Co-ordinator at MLA (Museums, Libraries, and Archives) South East, said:The You Zone will provide libraries with a healthy space; within their service which puts the health and well-being of the reader at the centre of library services. MLA South East may apply for Big Lottery funding in order to put the scheme into operation.Another point to emerge at the event, which included much discussion on Reading Partners, is the value of libraries in building the elusive word-of-mouth factor. Clare Harington, Random House Group Communications Director, said: Publishers in marketing campaigns are always talking about creating a word-of-mouth buzz, and then looking round at each other and wondering how we do it. However, libraries were frequently embedded in their local community to an extent that made such a buzz considerably easier to generate.They have links to their reading groups, reading groups newsletters, links to local radio, and all of that can be exploited to the full, said Rebecca Ash, Random House Group Marketing Manager.
The final speaker, Debbie Hicks, who looks after Policy and Strategy at the Reading Agency, made the point that libraries also get involved in direct sales of books more often than most people believed, with 81% of authorities selling in-print books at some point, often in connection with reading groups or author events. One of the suggestions put forward at the event, by Helen Johnstone, HarperFiction Publicity Manager, who worked with Tomes on the Wiltshire project, was that publishers could offer reading group discount hotlines for libraries.# Copies of More Readers Reading More have been distributed to participating libraries and the publishing partners."


That's most of the collection.

Of course, the traditional arrangement of libraries is off-putting to library users. It is old, out-of-date, uninteresting, unfriendly, univiting, largely non-sensical, ambiguous, etc. It doesn't take Einstein to figure that out. It's about time some libraries have realised this. Realisation of the problem is the starting point to solving the actual problem. Otherwise libraries will become less and less relevant to many people.

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