karenmuller's blog

Dewey or LC?

Q. Which is older, the Library of Congress Classification or Dewey? Which is more popular?

A. Quickly, Dewey is older and more popular, depending somewhat on the type of library. But let’s step back to the purposes of a classification system to understand a bit more about classification.

To “catalog” a book or other form of library material involves several interrelated processes which all contribute to the achievement of Charles Ammi Cutter’s “objects” for a catalog:

Historical Awards

Q. In a few weeks, one of our colleagues will retire. We know she has received several honors from the American Library Association. Is there any place we can research what they are?

A. We in the ALA Library—and in the divisions and offices, as well—have received this question, or similar ones, over the years. With ALA offering nearly 200 awards or other forms of recognition each year, some at the Association level, others by divisions or round tables, researching the question can be slow.

Using Other Sources

Q. Today's been tough.  Kids are coming in with left-to-the-last-minute homework assignments for which they normally turn to Wikipedia.  We're getting them to print resources and our online databases, but do you have suggestions for teaching research skills? 

Happy 135th, ALA!

Q. What were the forces behind the founding conference of the American Library Association?

Reading Levels

Q. Is there a reliable source for the suggested reading level of a novel?  I'm a teacher who requires independent reading, but the novels my students bring me sometimes look "too young" for the grade I teach.  I cannot always find information on what reading level the novel was intended to entertain.

Librarians in Government

The question came in with the subject line "Reference question that only ALA can answer" but it really is a question that only all of ALA, not just the ALA Librarian, can answer: Are there librarians who have been elected officials, or who have run for office?

Cleaning Up After Water Damage

UPDATED October 31, 2012 by Valerie Hawkins

How to Label a Book

Q.  Does ALA have any guidelines or sample policies for labeling books for the shelves?

A. Although the American Library Association has established standards and guidelines for a range of library activities, none of these cover shelf preparation or physical processing of library materials.

Children’s Libraries

Updated July 31, 2012

Q. Are there stand-alone libraries serving children (other than those in schools, that is)?

A. A year ago we reported ten such libraries, but received additional information from our readers.  Here is our current list, with links checked and updated, as well. We now can report sixteen libraries,  ten affiliated with public libraries, one under construction, and five in other settings.

Public libraries with stand-alone libraries serving children:

Sample Policies

Q. Can you direct me to one or two sites with sample library policies. I've just taken over our small public library and have convinced trustees we need to have policies newer than 25 years ago!

A. Certainly--but some framework first.

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