The Dewey Decimal System is Not Dead

Tags: Currents Books, Brooklyn Diocese, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Academy, Catholic Church, Catholic Education, Catholic Schools, Crux, Media, Queens, NY, Saint Matthias Catholic Academy, Teachers, Technology

By Tim Harfmann

Roaming the rows of bookcases, non-fiction fanatics at Saint Matthias Catholic Academy in Ridgewood, Queens, are expanding their knowledge and love for reading. 

The young students are turning to an old method — the Dewey Decimal System, first published in 1876 —  to help turn the page. 

The school uses the old-fashioned catalog as a teaching tool.

“I picked out an origami book because I like doing crafts,” explained fifth grader Julia Hutton. 

“I like sciences,” chimed in classmate Freddy Cavalli. “It separates them into 10 categories based on what the book is about,” he said about the system. 

“In the past, there would be a book about dinosaurs, but then next to it would be a book about a biography, which are not about the same thing,” explained fellow fifth grader Terangel Martinez.

“We want students to be able to see what a traditional card category is, because everything is computerized now, and students have the opportunity to take a look at it,” said the school’s principal, Maria Cuomo. 

Saint Matthias does incorporate new technology into other curricula, but students say the old method — not an app —  helps them navigate the academy’s library.

“Sometimes when you have technology, there might not be any service, so you might as well come to the library,” explained Treangel

“Technology only gets you so far,” said Freddy. “The extra mile comes from all of the books.”

The academy is taking the extra mile to sign every student up for a public library card, hoping kids find a library and get lost in a good book.