I really think we're going to be seeing a lot more of this, either through the result of retirements or funerals, but it will start to happen to more and more public libraries. We have to be competitive now with the private sector and to be competitive, we have to listen to our customers!
GILBERT, Ariz. — Trying to build popularity, many public libraries across the country have been looking more like big chain bookstores, offering comfortable easy chairs, coffee bars and displays of the latest best sellers.
But the new library in this growing Phoenix suburb has gone a step further. It is one of the first in the nation to have abandoned the Dewey Decimal System of classifying books, in favor of an approach similar to that at Barnes & Noble, say, where books are shelved in “neighborhoods” based on subject matter.
It was Harry Courtright, director of the 15-branch Maricopa County Library District, who came up with the idea of a Dewey-less library. The plan took root two years ago after annual surveys of the district’s constituency found that most people came to browse, without a specific title in mind.
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