Contest Promotes Wide Reading Range


Mariel Rossi, editor

The library began a new initiative called “Dewey Decimal Days” the first week of October to encourage reading. Each month, the library selects a range of numbers using the Dewey Decimal system, and students who read books within that range win prizes.

The new tactic is intended to guide curious students to read a variety of books from the shelves around the library. The Dewey Decimal system organizes literature into 10 subjects, each with specific 3 digit number representing the main category which the work falls under. For example, 500 is the general category for books that contain scientific content.

Freshmen Angelina Loui and Aislinn Welch created this opportunity when they began volunteering in the library at the start of the school year. Both Welch and Loui volunteer during the lunch break and before school. “There was a sign outside that said ‘Help Wanted, Inquire within’ and it just looked fun,” said Loui.

After observing the students who frequent the library, they noticed which bookshelves tended to be most used and which were not.

“They [Welch and Loui] invented the Dewey Decimal days because they noticed that students were checking out a lot of fiction, so they wanted to find a way to encourage kids to check out non fiction,” said librarian Sarah Morgan. According to Morgan, since most of the seating is in the “pit” at the center of the library, the other rows of bookshelves that line the walls are not as easily noticeable. The Dewey Decimal days’ purpose is to make students more aware of the literature available, not only as an academic resource.

“Me and Aislinn were just both volunteering and wondering what could we do in the library that would be fun and get people more engaged in reading books,” said Loui. With Morgan’s support, the two freshman posted signs around the school to encourage student participation. Morgan stated that the idea is novel and that she hopes it will be interesting to anyone who enjoys new subjects.

Dewey Decimal Days encourages selections of literature from around the library while also offering a limited range from the DDC, such 800-900, so readers do not become overwhelmed. Students are free to select any work within that set range. The range changes every month, with October being autobiographical works.

“We were kind of hoping that people would see the little posters around and it would be an incentive to read more books because there is a prize if you read books from all of the categories,” said Welch. There is still speculation about what kind of prizes to give out for students who participate. “We were considering movie tickets,” said Welch.

For students to earn a prize, they need to have read the entire work of literature. To fairly assess this, volunteers or Ms. Morgan plan to open the book at random and read a portion of text. If the student can give the context for that portion in the larger work, they receive a stamp of completion for that category.

“We give them a little stamp card and after they go through a week of reading the biography then we ask them some questions and if we think they read it and didn’t just search up a summary then we stamp their card,” said Loui. This method in meant to give students more flexibility in their book choices while making the assessment more specific.

At the start of every month, the library will shift over to another set of numbers and the category of the books within it will change. November is 100-300, with general subjects about the internet, mythology and social issues. Morgan believes that this category is more accessible because the books are shorter and they are not all necessarily narratives. “Our goal is let students know that they can use the whole library,” stated Morgan.