Melvil Dewey - Encyclopedia

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MELVIL DEWEY (1851-), American librarian, was born at Adams Center, New York, on the 10th of December 1851. He graduated in 1874 at Amherst College, where he was assistant librarian from 1874 to 1877. In 1877 he removed to Boston, where he founded and became editor of The Library Journal, which became an influential factor in the development of libraries in America, and in the reform of their administration. He was also one of the founders of the American Library Association, of which he was secretary from 1876 to 1891, and president in 1891 and 1893. In 1883 he became librarian of Columbia College, and in the following year founded there the School of Library Economy, the first institution for the instruction of librarians ever organized. This school, which was very successful, was removed to Albany in 1890, where it was re-established as the State Library School under his direction; from 1888 to 1906 he was director of the New York State Library and from 1888 to 1900 was secretary of the University of the State of New York, completely reorganizing the state library, which he made one of the most efficient in America, and establishing the system of state travelling libraries and picture collections. His "Decimal System of Classification" for library cataloguing, first proposed in 1876, is extensively used.

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