As the Library of Congress System Bides Its Time . . .
"A lot of times, patrons feel like they're going to a library and admitting defeat because they don't understand Dewey Decimal and can't find the book they're looking for," said Marshall Shore, adult service coordinator for the Maricopa County Library District and driving force behind the idea. "People think of books by subject. Very few people say, 'Oh, I know Dewey by heart.' "The solution? The new Gilbert library in Arizona has thrown the Dewey Decimal system out the winder and is shelving everything by topic. They say it works for bookstores and that libraries these days are, "in a fight for our own survival."
I'll admit that I've always wondered what a library shaped like a bookstore would look like, so I understand the inclination here. I'm used to patrons walking in and looking for the "historical fiction section," and the like. That said, bookstores have a distinct advantage over libraries. They don't stock anything that's old unless it's hugely popular or a "classic". In terms of sheer mass, libraries win nine times out of ten. They can only copy bookstores so much. And if you've enough catalog computers lying about the place then you really don't have to worry whether or not your patrons know Dewey by heart. Sillies.
Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.