Crack Dewey and navigate your way like a pro

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You walk in to get a cookbook and you are immediately struck by how little you know about finding your way around a library.There is a help desk in front of you, but you don’t want anyone to know that you have made it your whole adult life without knowing how to use the Dewey Decimal System.

So, you edge forward. Maybe the handy search catalog iPads will make navigating The Library more obvious. You approach one and type “cookbooks” into the search field. There are 839 of them. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. Because there are so many, it must be a large section, and therefore easy to find. It could also make finding a book on quick and easy dinners an afternoon commitment … and you’re hungry … and you’re no closer to locating the 839 cookbooks section because you don’t understand what 641.5638 means. It’s time to learn.

At home, all of your books fit neatly on a shelf and you pretty much know where everything is. No wayfinding necessary. In a library, books have to be categorized by the subject. That’s what the Dewey Decimal System does. Sure, you could wander around until you find a sign that says “nonfiction” and look at the book spines on every shelf and every row until you come across the cookbooks, but you will leave The Library hangry (hungry plus angry).

When you understand that every subject on earth is categorized into ten broad areas and given a number that nearly all public libraries agree on, you’ll be cooking in no time.

The first three numbers before that intimidating decimal represent the general subject, like this:

000 — General knowledge (UFOs, encyclopedias, etc.)

100 — Psychology and philosophy

200 — Religions and mythology

300 — Social sciences and folklore

400 — Languages and grammar

500 — Math and science

600 — Medicine and technology

700 — Arts and recreation

800 — Literature

900 — Geography and history

When you search the catalog for cookbooks, you’ll see that they are in the 600s.

Each number after the 6 refines the subject a little more. From your cookbooks search, you’ll notice that they all have the same number, 641.5. Any numbers after the 5 continue to refine the subject into different types of cookbooks so that all of the “quick and easy” cookbooks can be found in the same spot.

Now, all you have to do is decide what to make for dinner. You walk out of The Library with your stack of cookbooks and your newly-discovered talent for cracking Dewey.

Learn these ten basic “hundreds” and you will have a much easier time navigating through a library. Also keep in mind that our librarians will not judge your lack of Dewey savvy.

If you want to find something quickly, before you get hangry, our library staff are more than happy to help you find whatever it is you are looking for.

All of the following classes and events take place at the Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, unless otherwise noted.

• Fridays — Explore virtual reality; reserve sessions, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reserve a 15-minute session in the VR room at on the event listing. Information: Contact the Tech Desk, 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Fridays — Clark Fork Mother Goose, 10:15 a.m. at the Clark Fork Branch. A special story time for babies and toddlers followed by 20 minutes of play time. Information: 266-1321.

• Friday, Feb. 8 — Family Game Night, 5:30 p.m. in the Community Rooms. Get together with family, friends, and the community for a fun night of board games. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Saturday, Feb. 9 — Second Saturday Science – Bubbles. 10:00-11:30 a.m. in the Teen Lounge. What do you really know about bubbles? In this fun interactive session, we will explore the perfect geometry of bubbles. Information: or, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Saturday, Feb. 9 — eSports League at The Library. 1 p.m. in the Teen Lounge. Making eSports available to high school gamers by facilitating healthy competition on a varsity level in a comfortable environment is the mission of the HSEL. The Library is partnering with the SHS eSports team to further that mission. Information:

• Saturday, Feb. 9 — Great Backyard Birds. 2 p.m. @ the Clark Fork Branch. The American Heritage Wildlife Foundation presents an entertaining educational discussion on native and non-migratory birds of the local area. Free for all ages. Information: 266-1321.

• Saturdays — Explore Virtual Reality, reserve sessions, 2-4 p.m. Reserve a 15-minute session in the new VR room at on the event listing. Information: Contact the Tech Desk, 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Monday, Feb. 11 — Cocoa in a Jar, 3:30 p.m., in Community Room A. Make a jar of cocoa mix as a Valentine’s Day gift. Limited supplies. Come early. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Tuesdays — Mother Goose. 10 a.m. in the glass children’s area. Stories and singing for babies and toddlers 0-3 yrs. and their caregivers with stay & play until 10:40 a.m. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Tuesdays — Preschool Stories. 11 a.m. in the glass children’s area. Stories and crafts for kids and their caregivers. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Tuesdays — Robotics. 3 -5 p.m. @ the Clark Fork Branch. Explore STEAM with Lego Mindstorm robotics. Information: 266-1321.

• Tuesdays — Explore Virtual Reality – drop-in sessions. 3-6 p.m., drop-in 15-minute sessions. First come, first served. All ages welcome. Under 18 must accompany parent consent form. Under 10 must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian. Information: Contact the Tech Desk, 208-263-6930, ext.1251.

• Tuesdays — MAGIC the Gathering. 3:30-5 p.m.. Teens meet in Community Room A to play the game, MAGIC. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245 or

• Tuesdays — Away with Words. 5:15-6:30 p.m. in the YA Reading Area. A Creative Writing Workshop for teens with Beth Weber. Whether you are a poet, penner of short stories, or working on the great American novel, join us at the library to make your literary endeavor come to life. Information: or, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Wednesdays — Clark Fork Stories and More. 10:30 a.m. at the Clark Fork Branch. Stories, crafts, prizes and snacks for kids ages 3-8.

• Wednesday, Feb. 13 — Valentine Card-making. 2:30 in the glass children’s area. Make a card for a friend or loved one. Two pop-up card designs to choose from, as well as lots of other craft supplies. Information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Wednesday, Feb. 13 — Teen TED Talk & Discussion: Chuck Nice – A funny look at the unintended consequences of technology. 4:30-6 p.m. in the Teen Lounge. Technology should work for us, but what happens when it doesn’t? Comedian Chuck Nice explores the unintended consequences of technological advancement and human interaction - with hilarious results. Information: or, 208-263-6930, ext. 1245.

• Thursdays — Infant Lap-Sit Rhyme Time. 10 a.m. in the glass children’s area. Meet other parents and share in free early language and development classes for infants and pre-walkers. For more information, contact Suzanne Davis at, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• Now through March 15 — The Library’s Winter Reading Challenge. For all ages! A new adult reading challenge is now open! Register for the Winter Reading Challenge to log your reading and read-to-me time for prizes, drawings, and a party! Details at Contact Suzanne Davis for more information:, 208-263-6930, ext. 1211, or

• StoryWalk — Pages from a children’s book are posted along a trail for a fun, family experience. Enjoy “From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle at Dover City Park and “A Hat for Minerva Louise” by Janet Morgan Stoeke at McNearney Park. Read, connect, and get outside at a StoryWalk, a partnership of The Library, Kaniksu Land Trust, city of Dover, and city of Ponderay. For more information, visit

Marcy Timblin is in charge of public relations, marketing & community development for the East Bonner County Library District. She can be reached at 208-208- 208-263-6930, ext. 1204.

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