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The Metis Library Classification System
Transcript of The Metis Library Classification System
What is Metis?
"Metis is a flexible, intuitive and child-friendly system of library
categorization. It uses whole language, visual cues, and logic that
reflects children's own experiences. It puts the child in the center
of his or her own search." Like the Dewey Decimal System Metis
organizes books by subject, yet at its core it is quite different from
Dewey. "Metis is a new categorization system designed from a
How does it work?
Metis uses 26 very broad categories for classifying books. "The categories are ordered using the letters A-Z (this is the only part that is not whole language) and each category has sub-categories." Sub categories are devised with the age of the students in mind. For example in a lower grades elementary library the first category (the letter "A" is Concepts. Within that category you will find 5 sub categories (arranged alphabetically) labeled as such:
Counting A. 123
Alphabet A. ABC
Colors A. Colors
Calendars A. Months
Shapes A. Shapes
Exceptions To The Rules
There are a few exceptions to the rules regarding sub categories. As already mentioned the sub categories differ depending on the age of the patrons the library serves. Those sub categories are then listed in alphabetical order to make for easy searching on the shelves. Occasionally alphabetical order with an explanatory word, due to the vast number of subcategories within certain categories. For example the category
E. Animals, has so many subcategories that alphabetical order would be overwhelming to a young child. A listing in this section would look like this:
E. Animals 1. Aquatic then the name of the animal follows.
1. Aquatic Animals
includes seals, sea turtles, penguins
"Call numbers use the alphabetical letter denoting
the category and words."
A. Concepts (ll) Facts (ul
G. Making Stuff (ul)
GH. Arts and Crafts(ll)
K. Community and Society
V. Graphic Novels
Y. Beginning Fiction
Z. Middle Fiction
It is important to remember that Metis was designed for a specific library, in a specific school, based on the needs and input from the students in that school, however it can be adapted and changed to fit any school. With this in mind Metis would have trouble being used on a universal scale because it would differ in each library based on the needs and patrons of the library!
LL=lower library UL=upper library
In addition to using a letter and sub category sub category which is the genre in the fiction and poetry sections, there is also an author cutter. An example of a fiction call number would be:
X. Fantasy Pullman
The spine label consists of 3 elements:
a star or dot indicating fiction or non fiction (e.g. red- fiction blue-non fiction
a picture label for each category
Though biographies could get shelved in the memoirs section, unlike with Dewey they do not have their own designated category. Instead they are shelved in the subject area of the biographee and contains the biographee's name in brackets. The top of the spine would get a piece of blue tape with the letter BIO imprinted on it. For example a biography about Jackie Robinson would be put in the category:
I. Sports Baseball [Robinson]
Fiction gets a little tricky because it can be put into its own category or it can be filed in a specific subject area if it has a main focus that falls into one of the preset categories. A picture book about a tree would be filed under the category D. Nature but would have its imagination/ fiction indicator on the spine. Fiction books are easily identifiable by a color coded dot or star on the label indicating real or imagination.
Praise For Metis
The Perry Branch Library in Gilbert, AZ has been using Metis with great success. The parents love it, the children love it and circulation has increased tremendously. Increases in circulation are as high as 300% in some categories. Harry Courtright, director of the 15-branch Maricopa County Library District says "The younger generation today is wired differently than people in my generation, what that tells me is we as librarians have to look at how we present materials that we have for them the way they want it.” This is exactly what the creators of Metis had in mind, they wanted to put children first! With that in mind they created a system that is "a flexible, intuitive and child-friendly system of library categorization. It uses whole language, visual cues, and logic that reflects children's own experiences. It puts the child in the center of his or her own search."
"Are Dewey's Days Numbered?: Libraries Nationwide Are Ditching the Old Classification System." School Library Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.
Lynch, Sarah N., and Eugene Mulero. "Dewey? At This Library With a Very Different Outlook, They Don’t." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 July 2007. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.
"Metis Innovations." Metis Innovations. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.
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