The non-fiction section of the Library is arranged in numerical order using the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Dewey has ten sections, each with a different hundred. Sciences are 500s, Literature are 800s and so on. There are signs to mark the beginning of each hundred.
However, the existing signs were old and faded and needed replacing so the Art Department were asked to help out. Pupils have been asked to choose three different hundreds and to come up with new signs, clearly indicating which section they represent.
Each participating class came to the Library for research and inspiration. First of all, we looked at other examples of graphic design of a similar size, specifically bookmarks. Pupils reviewed the variety of fonts, shapes, colours and ideas on Library bookmarks, identifying those they thought had the most impact.
We also discussed the purpose of the signs and how the pupils themselves would end up using them: what would they find useful? what would be confusing?
Pupils wandered the bookshelves looking for suitable ideas for their designs, but they also had to bear in mind that the same image can mean different things to different people. This meant sharing ideas and asking opinions around the class before making their final decisions. One pupil used a World War II rationing poster for her History design, but unfortunately, without knowing that it came from the Second World War, others thought it was referring to Food (600s).
Each Dewey hundred covers a huge variety of topics, so pupils also had to be extremely careful when selecting a suitable image to represent each section. One pupil chose a castle to represent History/Geography (900s), but was startled to discover that the books with the sort of image he wanted were actually classified under architecture (700s).
This has been an extremely valuable exercise for encouraging pupils to explore the contents of the shelves, to investigate where to find what they’re looking for and to consider how the Library materials are arranged. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
In all, there will be ten winning designs, one for each hundred, to be selected after the Easter holidays, and each winning pupil will receive a prize.