In an effort to be more patron-centric, a nearby library system, Rangeview Library District (CO), is getting rid of Dewey and going to a bookstore type organization. Other libraries have done this, including Frankfort Public Library District (IL), (they have a blog, Free Dewey, explaining their plans and detailing their progress).
In looking at their catalogs, it seems that changing locations online is a little more difficult than changing physical locations and I have to wonder how confusing this is for some (probably older) customers familiar with Dewey and what they think of the changes. But, libraries have been putting things in unexpected places for years and with the increase in merchandising leading to more displayed materials, lots of items aren’t where you might expect them to be. Luckily library staff can usually help find these things. For people like me though, who pay no attention to signs (I like to think the reason I can drive by a store 10 times a week and never notice it is that I’m focused, though some would use the term oblivious), it could make for a bewildering experience. But I concede that most people enjoy browsing and for that purpose, this method certainly is an improvement, especially on some of the more arcane Dewey concepts (like putting Health titles in the 300’s as well as the 600’s).
Some people seem to think these libraries are just chasing the latest trend, but having seen so many patrons confused by Dewey, I do think this is a user-friendly practice.
But I’d love to hear from those of you who are doing this. Do people seem to need more or less help locating items with this arrangement as opposed to Dewey? What about when they are looking for a specific title? What do your long time customers who were used to the old method think? And what do you personally prefer?