Status Report on Reclassification to LC

We got a request for a status report on the conversion of the library’s books to Library of Congress classification. Happy to oblige! It’s hard to believe we’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of the project. Since July 1, 2009, every new book the library has purchased has been classified in LC.

In addition, we’ve had staff working on converting books we already owned. We have reclassified two discrete collections: the oversize/folio books, which continue to be shelved in their own section, and the fiction collection, which has been integrated into the general LC collection. We are now working on the chemistry collection, which came over from Martin last June. By the end of summer 2014, chemistry books will be classified and integrated into the LC section, mainly in the Q’s. Right now, many of those that have been reclassified are sitting on top of the microform cabinets in the lower level of E.H. Little Library because there’s insufficient space in the Q’s to shelve them until we do a shift this summer.

What else has been reclassified:
• All the books in the 000s-200s published since 1990
• All the books in the 300s-700s that have been checked out at least once since 1992
• All standing orders
• Some reference books

What is currently being reclassified:
• Books in the 800s that have been checked out at least once since 1992
• All Dewey books that get returned after being checked out
• Books formerly housed in the Chemistry Library
• Dewey items placed on reserve are converted at the end of each semester.

What is next: Books in the 900s that have been checked out at least once since 1992. The 800s and 900s are very large sections, so it will take us a while to get them done and decide what comes next.

Wondering about percentage? OK: 20% of the book collection in E. H. Little now sports LC call numbers. That’s over 100,000 books! Some of them arrived from our vendor already in LC, but most have been converted by library staff, at no additional cost to the college.

So, when can you expect it to be done? I honestly can’t say. There are companies that will come in and do the conversion in one huge batch. We could contract with one, but the cost would be significant. That might make sense at the time of an eventual renovation, but it would cause a big headache now because of the challenge of moving the books. In 2011, we moved the LC collection to the lower level of the library, but when it outgrows the shelving there, we’ll have to flip it to the second floor and move the Dewey books to the basement. “Flip” makes it sound easy, but this is a huge, labor-intensive project. We’re better able to handle a slow, steady stream of reclassifications that gives us time to organize manageable moves.

We’re going to have a split collection for the foreseeable future. Here are a few pointers to help you find what you’re looking for:
• Look up the book in Davidson Library WorldCat to get the current call number, especially if the book was Dewey the last time you used it. Because we’re reclassifying everything that gets returned, the book will likely not be Dewey next time.
• If you’re having trouble finding something, ask at the Information Desk. We want to help you, and our “bloodhounds” are pretty good at finding things.
• Take a look at these guides:
o Guide to call number locations in E. H. Little Library:
o Find the right area to browse–Dewey to LC:
o LC to Dewey

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff who have toiled many hours on the reclassfication. Kim Sanderson and Susan Kerr have directed the project and processed the data to generate lists of candidates. Wilson Mericle, Clara Nguyen, Alice Sloop, and Mittie Wally are all working on converting books. Former library employees June Quick, Linda Snyder, and Tonya Washington also put in many hours. Thanks to all!

About Jill Gremmels

Leland M. Park Director of the Davidson College Library
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