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The Dewey Decimal System. By Gabrielle Sharrock. Table of Contents. Libraries Before the Dewey Decimal System.

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the dewey decimal system

The Dewey Decimal System

By Gabrielle Sharrock

libraries before the dewey decimal system
Libraries Before the Dewey Decimal System

Before the Dewey Decimal System people had to ask the librarian for the books they wanted, and the librarian would call back into the stacks for the books. That’s where the term “Call Number” comes from. People couldn’t browse for books by themselves.

melvil dewey
Melvil Dewey

Dewey said that’s not fair. People ought to be able to browse through the books themselves, and find what they want. He created a system using 10 major categories which is organized numerically. Because he used decimals to organize the books more books can easily be added to the collection.

why we use the dewey decimal system
Why We Use the Dewey Decimal System

Because of Dewey anyone can go into a library and find what they want on their own as long as they know the Dewey Decimal System.

how the dewey decimal system works
How the Dewey Decimal System Works

There are 10 main categories

  • They are arranged by number from 0 to 1000
  • Each book has a whole number which indicates its library section
  • The numbers after the decimal indicate specifics about the book
dewey decimal 000 s generalities
Dewey Decimal 000’sGeneralities

Basic Information and Reference Materials.




100 s philosophy psychology
100’s – Philosophy & Psychology

Man thinks about the Universe

The Paranormal


How is the world connected?

Who Am I?

200 s religion
200’s – Religion

Who made me?

Man thinks about God.

And hundreds more

This section also includes mythology




300 s social sciences
300’s – Social Sciences

Man and His Community

Folk Tales




Law and Government


400 s languages
400’s – Languages

How We Communicate.

How we talk to Others.


Foreign Languages

Sign Language

500 s natural science
500’s – Natural Science

What’s around me?

Anything that happens by itself in nature.

Math, Time, and Chemistry

Space, Moon, and Stars

Wild Animals and Dinosaurs

Weather, Oceans, Rivers

Rocks, Trees, Plants

600 s applied sciences
600’s – Applied Sciences

How Man Uses Nature

Medicine and the Human Body

Pets and Farm Animals

Cookbooks, and computers

Cars, Trucks, Boats, Planes

700 s arts recreation
700’s – Arts & Recreation



Jokes and Riddles


Jokes and Riddles

Art and Drawing

Dance, Music, and Theatre

800 s literature
800’s – Literature

Man as storyteller.

How We Record Our Thoughts.

Poems, Plays, Short Stories,


900 s history geography biography
900’s – History, Geography, & Biography

How We Record History.


Historical Events and Wars

Countries, States, Travel Books, and Maps

dewey decimal scrapbook
Dewey Decimal Scrapbook

Take the Magazine Pictures and Sort Them according to Their Dewey Call Numbers. Then Paste them on the Worksheet Provided.

dewey decimal treasure hunt
Dewey Decimal Treasure Hunt

Take at Least Fifteen Card Catalog Cards and Locate These Books in the Library Before Your Opponent.

need more practice
Need More Practice?

Check out these websites for fun games based on the Dewey Decimal System…

website hyperlinks and descriptions
Website Hyperlinks and Descriptions
  • Oracle Thinkquest Do we really know Dewey?
  • Dewey Decimal System Webquest