I am new to this ning network and to my job as a church librarian, although I have worked in public libraries for several years. Our library has been classified according to a staff-created classification system based on accession numbers and subject headings. I am planning on converting our system to Dewey. Until then, the resources are shelved according to audience (Children, Youth, Adult), media type (video, book), and then by title.


Has anyone re-classified their library?  Do you have any tips on how to do this?  I am mostly confused about how to shelve some items that are Dewey and some that are not while the re-classification is in progress.


Does your library have a Youth section or do you think these resources should be mixed in with the Adult section because of resources that cross this boundary?  If you shelve them together, do you use spine labels to designate resources specified for use with Youth?


Thank you so much for any advice!

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Laura, Is there anyway you could leave a space for those you are converting to Dewey on your shelves? Perhaps you could pull one shelf off, classify the items with the Dewey number and return it to the shelf in the Dewey order. Eventually, one by one, shelf by shelf, the classification would be completed. Hopefully, you have some help and a library computer system that simplifies matters. Our media library has a small "Y" section and is separated from the other sections. The label on the spine indicates what age group the item is put in and that is something the librarian initiates. Are you the Laura married to Fred Dallas? Or is there more than one Laura Dallas?
I'm also new to this network and only started working with our library about two years ago when I retired from banking systems work. We (my wife and I) just reclassified our library from a totally manual classification system (very subjective categories and classification practices) to Dewey. We did this while automating to Concourse (Book Systems). The full process took from Aug. 2009 until Jan. 2010, 10-15 hours/week each). We started with a section of shelves, emptied by shelf to process. That is, catalog into Concourse (using eZcat) and relabeling the spine and inside with the Dewey classification. We then reshelved by Dewey into the empty shelves. The challenge in this process is that the number of reclassified items kept growing with items added and I had to regularly reshift those items from shelf to shelf as we continued around the room. I initially considered loading everything into Concourse first, without relabeling, then do a mass relabeling/reshelving later...we decided very early on that would not work. Since we did not have a useful card catalog previously, we managed to avoid major church-member inconvenience with the dual cataloging/shelving during the process. We use Alpha classifications for the first Call Number line for Fiction, Biography, Childrens, Juvenile, and A/V (DVD, CD, etc.). We have a very small collection of "Youth" (YA), i.e. only 38 books. I also debated about just including these in the Adult sections.
Hi Gene, Your situation sounds very similar to mine, and I may end up doing it that way. I estimated it would take several months as well. We have over 2500 items, and I work 30 hours a week, but I will have the business of the library to keep as well! Part of the reclassification will involve switching to new software that has not been chosen yet, but the IT team here, as well as myself, are intereted in using a more powerful open source software such as Evergreen or OPALS.
Laura, I would really recommend you look at existing church library software. While you may be able to build something in an open source software, consider what's already built with the multiple databases (catalog, circulation, patrons, etc.) and additional features like automated cataloging in existing software. I spent several months evaluating software, including 70+ hours on demos alone. It was well worth my time. The big challenge in building a system is in ongoing training of future library team members, volunteers or staff. The Concourse system we eventually chose, is very strong in functionality and easy to use.


Hi Gene, Thanks for the advice. The open source ILS systems I mentioned do not need to be built. They have already been designed and are continuously improved as they are used; however, they do provide a wide degree of flexibility which I prefer. I am currently reviewing demos of the two systems and find that they meet most of our needs so far and can be customized beyond that. My library is at the conference level so that volunteers are not responsible for circulation, and my training in library science leaves me wanting a more powerful system than the church library software I have demo'd so far. I really want a system that can grow and change with the times adding new functionality faster and cheaper than buying a new system or upgrade. Another major decision factor is the cost. I have dreams of putting all of our conference church libraries on the same system many years down the road, and an open source system would eliminate the cost issue for churches that cannot afford it. I plan on spending more hours reviewing the demos and consulting with the companies that provide the software before making any final decisions.
Laura, you have received some great responses to your questions. You are right in looking at the features and functionality of the different automation systems. We, too, use Concourse by Book Systems and I feel that the company is very thorough in keeping up to date and is priced competively. You might look at another of their products, Atriuum. They have been in the library automation business for almost 20 years and serve not only church libraries, but school, public, university and other specialty libraries -- and, no, I am not an employee! I'm sure there are other systems which will do the job, Book Systems just does a good job and have excellent service.

We have begun putting a yellow label protector over the label on the books which are more "youth" oriented. These are shelved in the adult section. We will have signage to let customers know what the yellow signifies.

Your previous experience in library science will serve you well in the technical area. In training new workers in the church library ministry, you might like to read some articles from this website: www.lifeway.com/churchlibrary. There are many helps available -- resources, training opportunities, mediagraphies for all age groups and much more! They help us to be specialists in the area of ministry!

Welcome to the Church Library Ministry!
Hi Annie, That is a great idea and I may end up just doing that. I am not married to Fred Dallas so there must be more than one Laura Dallas, although Dallas is my married name. :)
Laura, you have gotten some very good suggestions from Annie and Gene. I congratulate you in deciding to take the step to convert to Dewey. I would certainly recommend that this is a great time to begin automation. It will be much easier and quicker and you can forget catalog cards, etc.

The choice of a youth section is up to the individual library; however, we only last year started a youth section when we were asked specifically about careers, youth devotionals,etc. We have only placed in that section those items which are specifically youth and not other items which could be used by both youth and adult.

A publication by B & H entitled "The Church Library Ministry Information Service" could be most helpful to you with the section on Classification and Cataloging. It gives very complete infomation about the various age groups and how to have a call number (spine label) which will better identify the media. Of course all different types of media should have a section of their own.

Don't be discouraged because it will take some time. Just set a goal to do a shelf or shelves this week and you can feel good if you reach that goal and even go beyond. Gene mentioned Concourse with eZcat to get the job done much faster. I've used the program since its beginning more than 20 years ago and couldn't be more satisfied.

You'll be happy when you have made the change and those librarians who may follow you will indeed be pleased.
Thanks, Eva. That is one book I had not come across, so thanks for suggesting it. I think I am going to mix in Youth materials with Adult materials but still designate Youth materials with the call number or a spine label. It just seems that it will work better with our shelves this way. I really appreciate the support on making the switch to Dewey. I think the rest of the staff (non-library) and the users will really understand the difference once it is finished.

Before you jump in, you might want to know that the library world will be shifting from AACR to something new called RDA - Resource Description and Access. I don't know very much about this yet, and I'm not sure how it will affect Dewey (if it does at all - does anyone know?), but I'd hate to have you change everything to Dewey and then find out everything's changing again. There are several professional-level resources available on RDA available through www.neal-schuman.com (pg. 35 of their most recent catalog). The books are relatively expensive and, as I said, are for professional librarians, so the information might be totally overwhelming for many of us "volunteer" librarians. I'll see what else I can dig upon this and get back to you on it. Anyone else up on this info? Please update us.
Hi Joanne, I learned some about RDA in library school, and I appreciate you bringing it up as I look at the trusty AACR2 on my desk. I imagine that just like most everything else in the library world, it will take quite some time before all libraries make the switch especially special libraries. Also, my feeling is that RDA will affect catalog records more than Dewey numbers, but I really don't remember much about it. Thanks for putting it back on my radar. I will keep an eye out for developments.
Hi Laura,

Just heard back from my contact at college, (Nel Yang, Santa Ana College) - RDA implementation will only affect the description part of the cataloging record, not including the classification schemes, Dewey or LC, so go ahead and begin changing over to Dewey.

Anyone who is interested in RDA can check out the "Tool Kit" which will be available for free access until Aug. 31.
The RDA Toolkit went live on Wednesday, June 23, see www.rdatoolkit.org
> You can sign up for free open access from now through August 31, 2010 by visit www.rdatoolkit.org/openaccess
> You can also sign up at www.rdatoolkit.org/rdalist to receive information about free trials, special introductory offers (double-user offer for site license subscriptions through August 31, 2011!), webinars, product updates, and more.
> RDA implementation will only affect the description part of the cataloging record, not including the classification schemes, Dewey or LC.
> You can visit RDA and RDA Toolkit Training Calendar (http://www.rdatoolkit.org/calendar ) for training opportunities or visit the Webinar archive for training materials.



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