As part of the 2019 Project SET Cohort, Alexandra Pratt, Children’s Librarian at the West Tisbury Free Public Library, is exploring library trends and connecting with colleagues outside of their library. On November 4, each member of the 2019 Project SET Cohort will give a five minute presentation at the MLS Annual Meeting.

For her presentation, Alexandra will be discussing alternatives to the Dewey Decimal System, particularly the BISAC-style system that her library has recently implemented. She proposes that libraries investigate alternative organization systems for their collections to increase accessibility to patrons. 

I am excited to share the West Tisbury Library’s experience in moving away from Dewey for our Children’s Room and adult non-fiction. Tailoring our classification systems to what works best for our local communities has been a wonderful experience. 

Awareness on the underlying structures that our libraries and society are built on. If we truly want to work towards access for all we need to address a lot of the old-fashioned and outdated practices, procedures and systems we still use. 

Alexandra is new to librarianship, starting in April 2017. She has worked at five out of six of the public libraries on Martha’s Vineyard and knows first hand that we are all stronger when we collaborate and work together. She joined Project SET because she felt it was important to get off-island and connect with librarians from across the state. 

Alexandra is passionate about the concept of libraries as community centers. She notes that food and housing equity is a huge issue for Martha’s Vineyard, and is interested in ways the library can be involved in working to help mitigate these issues. Public libraries belong to the communities they serve and listening and involving the community in the vision for the library for the future is vital to ensure libraries will adapt and change with the rest of the world. 

The West Tisbury Library is one of the best smaller libraries ever! Our community is unique in so many ways. While in the summer months our population swells with seasonal visitors and tourists, the year round population faces many problems with isolation, elder care, mental health, substance use, housing and food access. I just started as the full time Children’s Librarian here at West Tisbury Library and it is an absolute pleasure to be here. This library embraces change and growth so well and is able to quickly respond to the evolving needs of the community.