Guest Blogger

Hi, My Name is Melvil Dewey. Nice to Meet You, How You Doin’?

I am the media specialist in an urban middle school, and I often have to ask myself, “How do I get/keep the kids’ attention long enough to teach them what they need to know?”  Sometimes the answer is make it short and sweet, or make it fun and memorable.  When teaching the Dewey Decimal System, my answer is get them to laugh with a catchy rap made just for the Dewey system!  Two years ago, I came across this YouTube video:

I couldn’t get the song out of my head!  So I decided if I couldn’t get it out of my head, then my students wouldn’t be able to either!  I immediately added it to my lesson on the Dewey system.  I start my lesson with a short introduction to the DDS, then introduce my students to the “best four minutes and fifteen seconds of their day” that they are about to have.  I let them watch the video, and by the end, they are laughing and singing along.  After that, I delve into my more in-depth PowerPoint about how and why we classify books in the DDS.  I end the lesson with a Dewey Scavenger Hunt, and you wouldn’t believe how many of the kids are singing the rap while they are completing their scavenger hunt!  Days and weeks pass, and the students are still found singing the rap in the library, the hallways, and even their classrooms!  They will come up to me and tell me that they shared the video with their entire family when they got home.  And one thing is for sure, none of my students EVER have to ask me where the shark books are!  As silly as it may be, The Dewey Decimal Rap hits home with kids that love music, rap, or just plain silliness!


Our guest blogger today is Jill Schriner,  librarian at Portage Middle School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Jill  can be contacted at

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


  1. Stacy Dillon

    Jill…this is awesome! I think it will find it’s way into my Dewey lessons as well!

  2. Michelle M.

    Great idea! I’m going to check it out for my program. Unfortunately I’m not a great rapper but i like the concept.

  3. Melvil Dewey - International Library Hip Hop Superstar

    Melvil Dewey’s official website is Book a show at your elementary or middle school!

  4. Deb Marshall

    Oh my WOW…I LOVE THIS. Will share it with my book club kids–!!

  5. Anna

    I have been using this and my kids LOVE it. I happened across it on Youtube. I wish the music was a little quieter, some of the words are hard to understand. I’m going to make a copy of the words for my kids as well!

  6. Pingback: C’mon down to the 600s! | ALSC Blog

  7. David Di Gregorio

    Educationally I do not give it much unless it is part of a larger discussion about freedom and order. Rap itself has a huge emphasis on structure and order as the beat never deviates. A composer is free to plug words in as long as they go strictly with the beat. The Dewey Decimal system is similar as its numbers impose order out of what would be confusion — the purpose is to make a patron more able to find things. The order that the Dewey Decimal system imposes is friendly to us as it creates a freedom for us to find things. If our own hearts did not have order in the way they beat, there would be lots of trouble. So, framing a discussion in how order can be friendly to us and make for freedom could be a very valuable lesson for students of any age. I have learned through the philosophy of Aesthetic Realism how opposites seen as one make for beauty. I see this methodology as infinitely useful to educators.

  8. Emilly

    My children were so happy when they saw that video it taught them a great lesson on different things and I hope he Dewey had a wonderful time making that video because I had a wonderful time listening to that video

  9. brandon

    I shared this with my family and they can’t get it out of there head :[

  10. Pingback: Enter the library and study | Edward's House of Exploration

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *