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How to Organize a library


THE classification of books is grouping them in logical order according to subject and giving to each book a class mark which will indicate the particular group to which it belongs. Classification should not be confused with cataloging, which is described elsewhere in this pamphlet.

The Dewey Decimal classification, published in book form, is the one commonly used. It is the most practical, as it is easily understood and may be expanded at any time to fit the needs of a growing library. The abridged edition of this classification ( Cat. no. 1002) is recommended for libraries having less than 5,000 volumes. A still smaller edition of the classification, entitled "Outline of the decimal classification," consisting of one thousand divisions, is in preparation. This is intended only for very small libraries. The unabridged edition (Cat. no. 1004) will be needed for libraries which are likely to grow rapidly.

The decimal system divides the field of knowledge into nine main classes, which are numbered from 100 to 900. Cyclopedias, periodicals, etc., so general in character as to belong to no one of these classes, form a tenth class, numbered 000.

The following outline shows the main classes and the first subdivisions in the logical order in which the subjects follow one another.


000 General Works 500 Natural Science
100 Philosophy 600 Useful Arts
200 Religion 700 Fine Arts
300 Sociology 800 Literature
400 Philology 900 History

Each of these ten classes is subdivided into ten divisions, as follows:

010 Bibliography
020 Library Economy
030 General Cyclopedias
040 General Collections
050 General Periodicals
060 General societies
070 Journalism/Newspapers
080 Special Libraries
090 Book Rarities
110 Metaphysics
120 Special Metaphyiscal Topics
130 Mind and Body
140 Philosophic Systems
150 Mental faculties, Psychology
160 Logic, Dialects
170 Ethics
180 Ancient Philosophers
190 Modern Philosphers
210 Natural Theology
220 Bible
230 Doctrinal, Dogmatics, Theology
240 Devotional practical
250 Homilitic Pastoral Parochial
260 Church Institutions
270 Religious History
280 Christian churches
290 Ethnic non-christian
310 Statistics
320 Political Science
330 Political Economy
340 Law
350 Administraion
360 Associations
370 Education
380 Commerce, Communications
390 Customs, Costumes, Folklore
410 Comparative
420 English
430 German
440 French
450 Italian
460 Spanish
470 Latin
480 Greek
490 Minor Languages
510 Mathematics
520 Astronomy
530 Physics
540 Chemistry
550 Geology
560 Paleontology
570 Biology
580 Botany
590 Zoology
610 Medicine
620 Engineering
630 Agricultures
640 Domestic Economy
650 Communication, Commerce
660 Chemic Technology
670 Manufactures
680 Mechanic Trades
690 Building
710 Landscape Gardening
720 Architecture
730 Sculture
740 Drawing, Decoration, Design
750 Painting
760 Engraving
770 Photography
780 Music
790 Amusements
810 American
820 English
830 German
840 French
850 Italian
860 Spanish
870 Latin
880 Greek
890 Mino Languages
910 Geography and travels
920 Biography
930 Ancient History
940 Modern Europe
950 Modern Asia
960 Modern Africa

North American

980 South America
990 Oceanic and Polar regions

Each book in the library is classified according to the group in which it falls. Thus a book on English History would be numbered 942, viz. : Class 9 (History), Division 4 (Europe), Section 2 (England). Al l books are arranged in the shelves in simple numerical order according to class numbers, which brings all the books on kindred subjects together. Books in each class are arranged on the shelves alphabetically by author.

Biography variation

The number 920 is generally used for all collective biography, that is, the lives of several persons in one volume. The books are then arranged alphabetically by the authors under that class.

For individual biography, that of a single person, the practice varies. Few newly organized libraries use the subdivisions for biography as shown in the decimal classification. Some have arbitrarily chosen the number 921 for all individual biography, while others have used the two figures 92, without the 0; still other libraries have used the letter "B" to indicate the class, individual biography. Whichever practice is followed, the individual biography is arranged alphabetically by the name of the person written about. Thus, Hapgood's "Life of Lincoln" is arranged under Lincoln, and not under the author Hapgood. It will aid in keeping together on the shelves all biographies about one person, if the initial letter of the person written about is placed below the class number. Thus, Hapgood's Lincoln may be marked 921.

Fiction exception

Fiction should not be classified by the Dewey Decimal system, nor does it need author numbers. It is placed on the shelves by itself and arranged alphabetically by author's surname. If the author's name does not appear on the back of the book, letter the name with ink.

Distinguishing mark for children's books

To distinguish children's books from adults', place a capital letter J for juvenile on the back, one and one-half inches from the bottom of the binding. In the case of non-fiction place this letter before the classHOW TO ORGANIZE A LIBRARY the case of non-fiction place this letter before the class number. Thus, Pike's "Our little Panama cousin" would be marked J919.

Books for very little children may be marked J+ and shelved all together for convenience, regardless of the class to which they belong.

Reference books

The class number for reference books should be preceded by R. The books should be kept on separate shelves, as they are not circulated.

Placing class marks in books

Each book should have its class number written on the upper left-hand corner of the page following the title-page, an inch from each edge.

Author numbers

There is an increasing tendency to drop author numbers and to arrange books, within a given class, alphabetically by the author's surname. This method is recommended. If it is desired to add a distinguishing author mark, the initial of the author's surname may be added below the class number, and the books alphabetized by this initial within a particular class. Thus, Morley's "Rise of the Dutch republic" would be marked 940/M

A more specific method is to use the "Cutter two- figure alphabetic order table" (Cat. no. 1036), a scheme giving to each author his own exclusive book number, so contrived that "the books stand on the shelves alphabetically by the authors under each subject." The three-figure table (Cat. no. 1038) provides an extended scheme for libraries of considerable size.

Cutter numbers are decidedly not necessary in small public or Cutter numbers are decidedly not necessary in small public or school libraries and should not be used. Business libraries or others using many pamphlets may find them convenient.


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