Melvil Dewey

A Great American Librarian and Teacher!

Early Life


Melvil Dewey was born in 1851 in Adams Center, New York. As a young student attending a small rural school, Melvil Dewey was displeased with the education system in America. As a result, Dewey decided that he would spend his life working to improve education in America.


College and Career


Beginning in 1870, Dewey attended Amherst College. While he was at Amherst Dewey worked in the college library and made many visits to others libraries. He was very interested classifying information.


American Library Association


Melvil Dewey was one of the original founders of the American Library Association. From 1876-1890 Dewey served as the ALA secretary. He then served as ALA President from 1890-1893.



Dewey Decimal System


Dewey created a system to organize and categorize books. The system allows libraries to easily locate and shelf books. Each topic is assigned a number, so books related to that topic can be labeled by that number. Dew first published "A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library" in 1876.