[Drawing of M. Dewey]
Melvil Dewey, 1851 - 1931

Melvil Dewey was born in New York on the tenth of December, 1851. He went to school and eventually became a librarian at Amherst College. In 1876, he published an important book, one that would totally change the way books were arranged in libraries. Through this book Dewey established the Dewey Decimal System.

Dewey did other things to affect the ways libraries operate today. He helped found the American Library Association in 1876 and established the first professional library school in the United States in 1887. Other associations Dewey was involved with include the Children's Library Association, the Association of State Librarians, and the American Library Institute. He also edited Library Journal (with which Middletown Thrall library is a subscriber).

Dewey died in 1931, but his revolutionary organization system still stands today as one of the most convenient and comprehensive tools today helping librarians and readers locate and classify information. His method continues to be adapted today as librarians apply the Dewey Decimal system to catalog the growing amount of Internet resources. While there are other systems in use throughout libraries and universities, such the Library of Congress Subject Classifcation System, Dewey's system has proven to be one of the easiest and most intuitive ways of grouping subjects and dividing library items into accessible, memorable sections.


Biographical information for this section was derived from the CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Americana, specifically the article entitled, "Dewey, Melvil - The Dewey Decimal System." This CD-ROM product is available for public use at the library near the adult reference section. We also have the print edition of Encyclopedia Americana at Reference.

If you would like to learn more about Melvil Dewey and his classification system, come to the library and visit these other sites:

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