▶️ Wayfinder is here: Meet the Deschutes Library system dumping Dewey Decimal


The Deschutes Public Library is in the middle of an ambitious project to rearrange their entire collection. It’s a project Central Oregon Daily News first told you about last fall — plans to shelve the Dewey Decimal System in favor of a new organizational method called Wayfinder.

We first met librarian Emily O’Neal in the 660s, looking for books on home brewing.

“Before home brewing was a bit of a craft and so it wasn’t necessarily with all the beverage materials,” Emily said.

That’s all changed with Wayfinder.

“The full purpose of a library is to provide information, but we kept a system that only librarians knew,” Emily said.

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Dewey Decimal was created by Melvil Dewey back in the 1870s. 

“And so you either had to memorize what the numbers meant or you had to get help. And so for us, we wanted to break that down and we wanted to make it usable,” Emily said.           


Sorting material more like a Barnes and Noble or Blockbuster. Everything is getting rearranged.

“Our collection is about 300,000 items,” Emily said.

But before the collection is re-shelved, Matt Roveto from the company Backstage Library works orchestrates a crew who relabel, scan and roll out the newly re-classified materials.

“It’s coming together a little more at first it was intimidating,” Matt said.

A job made trickier because this is a floating collection, shared among the library branches.

Sonja Brandjes is the operations supervisor in Redmond, where the books have a temporary home during construction of a new library.

“We like to upheave everything at the same time,” Sonja said.

And the first to go full Wayfinder.

“Our goal was to improve the discovery and entice people to look in other directions,” Sonja said.

The passage of a $195 million bond in 2020 funded the construction projects, opening a perfect window for the changeover.

“The intention is that we fulfill the original information need and also hopefully so much more,” Emily said.

A change years in the making to enriching the experience for library patrons. But if you still need help finding your way around wayfinder, you know who to ask.

“We are librarians,” Emily said.

The change to Wayfinder will be completed later this spring. The new Redmond branch is set to open in fall of 2024.


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