Melvil Dewey

drawing of two cats holding sticks, both wearing bows
From St. Nicholas vol. 27 no. 2 / edited by Mary Mapes Dodge (1899)

119th chat, Tuesday October 1 2019: Melvil Dewey
6 pm Pacific / 7 pm Mountain / 8 pm Central / 9 pm Eastern

moderated by @kevinseeber
Wakelet (compilation of tweets) (pdf) by @kevinseeber

This chat will be a chance to reflect on the recently published Slate article on Melvil Dewey and his professional legacy from a critlib perspective.

acronyms explainer:

  • DDC = Dewey Decimal Classification
  • MD = Melvil Dewey

suggested resources:

discussion questions:

  • Q1. When did you first learn about Melvil Dewey’s racism/anti-semitism/misogyny? How did you learn about it? #critlib
  • Q2. In addition to the DDC, Melvil Dewey made a huge impact. In your daily work in libraries, or when you study libraries, where do you see evidence of his influence? #critlib
  • Q3. How can we address Dewey’s ongoing influence in libraries and repair some of the harm he caused? #critlib
  • Q4. Dewey was censured during his life, though librarianship continued to revere him (his name was attached to the ALA Lifetime Achievement award until 2019). Why is librarianship only just now coming to terms with this legacy? #critlib
  • Q5. The example of Melvil Dewey indicates that librarianship often ignores its history. What resources would you recommend to help people learn more about how librarianship got to where it is today? #critlib