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    Okay, so is there a painless way to do this? I’m sure it was presented in public school at some point in my life. My winter project is to organize all of our books. I already have them shelved loosley by “subject” as that was the easiest way for me to find a particular title. My plan is enter them by dewey decimal system into Bookpedia. I’ve looked up an overview of the dewey decimal system online and well…the thought of determining where to catagorize a specfic book – I can see myself spinning my wheels and going no where, fast! All these subcatagories are overwhelming…particularly the ones I’m sure we’ll never use. I feel like I’m trying to weed a garden or something and look for row markers that mean something to me. This has to be easier than it looks, or it wouldn’t be such a widely used system right??


    This isn’t a way to learn Dewey, but it may help your organization. If you have any books that have been published fairly recently, look on the page opposite the title page. At least, that’s where it is in most books. Many times there is cataloging information there, including Dewey numbers.

    For example, here it is for B is for Big Ben by Pamela Duncan Edwards. It’s actually on the back of the title page. Summary is given; ISBN; suggestions for subject listings in the library catalog, then the number 941, the Dewey number for the British Isles.

    For those that don’t have this information, called tracings, BTW, you could probably use the overview you found (World Book has a good one) and put them in general categories.

    Does that help?



    I don’t think it’s easier than it looks.  I personally don’t find Dewey Decimal very helpful for a home library.  Maybe a lending type library, but not a home.  I use the system that Valerie at Valerie’s Living Books uses; it works well enough for us.  If you do have newer books with cataloguing information, you can just use that, but personally you are going to end up with books that have five or six decimals after the number  and that’s just not that helpful.  It causes me all kinds of stress when shelving. 😉 


    For a personal library I do by subject. Sorry!

    The best way to help kids learn the system is to immerse them in the library! For example, have a new number to look at every trip. What is in the 900’s? Or 950’s? Go in order, be it 0 to 999 or backward. Do this in the children’s nonfiction section in the beginning. As you find things relavant to your child help them notice and remember it. For example if you have a child who loves plants then teach them the plant books are around 580, and that they’ll see animal books to the right/after that (590’s) while dinosaur books will be earlier (560’s). Looking for history or geography? Those are in the 900’s. Ancient world books will be 930’s but then the numbers start doing history books by continent (940 Europe, 950 Asia, 960 Africa, 970 North America, 980 South America, and so on).

    Just tackle it a little at a time and try relating things to favorites or to what you find before and after it.

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