Fremont students design new library cataloging system
Fremont Middle School students were given a difficult task: replace the Dewey Decimal System used to organize and locate books in the school's media center with a new system that any middle school student could easily understand and use.
The project started at the beginning of the school year when media center teacher Andrea Poglayen, who was new to the Fremont Middle School, noticed students were having a difficult time using the Dewey Decimal System to find books in the center.
That's not surprising for the system that's been in use for nearly 150 years.
"More people don't understand the Dewey Decimal System and are trying to get rid of it," professed Lisa Greene, a librarian at the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire for the last 25 years.
In discussing Fremont Middle School's situation with language arts teachers Rebecca Kramer and Susan Williams, Poglayen suggested the students could devise an easier method.
"I loved the idea," Williams said. "This situation would give the students a chance to solve a real-world problem by thinking outside the box."
The assignment was given to six groups of students from eighth-grade advance language arts classes. They were given two and a half weeks to do the research and present their findings to school Principal Pam Motsenbocker.
The winning team was made up of Samantha DeDominicis, 13; Allan Rodriguez, 13; Colby Willis, 14; and Zachary Scott, 14, who dubbed their new system Color Genre Author (C.G.A.) Den Design. Their proposal was selected because it was user friendly, easy to convert, thorough and easy to follow, school officials said.
The students made a presentation in November to the Fremont Elementary District 79 school board.
Their system divides fiction and nonfiction books: nonfiction books would be color coded with the author's name; fiction books would be classified by the genre and author's name.
The task was not without challenges. The team ran into a problem of having too many good ideas.
"One challenge we had to overcome as a group was that we needed to compromise on our individual ideas so that we could present a unified solution," DeDominicis said.
And, when the students hit a brick wall in their research or thinking, the only thing the teachers provided were more questions and guidance, Williams said.
"We never did any of the research for them," she added.
Now, those team members and other Fremont students are in the process of reclassifying all of the books in the media center and reorganizing it to implement the new design. The new filing system, which comes at no cost to District 79, should be in place by spring break, if not sooner.