East Arnhem Land community library re-organises according to Yolngu culture
In Galiwin’ku, a remote community in the Northern Territory, the community library has replaced the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system with a system of organisation based on local Indigenous concepts. It is believed to be the first program of its kind in Australia, reports ABC News.
Employees at the Galiwin’ku library thought that the organisation of books according to the DDC, the library classification system that is used in over 200,000 libraries across 135 countries, was more work than it was worth. A culturally sensitive method of classification was developed by the Northern Territory Library and East Arnhem Regional Council, in consultation with the local community, and is expected to promote community connection through the library.
The library has been re-organised according to key concepts in Yolngu culture, and is now categorised in language into sections that cover the natural environment; true stories; and art, language, culture and customs. There is also a section that covers anything else.
‘When I talked to the community library officers, they explained to me that the concepts of fiction and nonfiction were largely absent in their community’s culture,’ said Northern Territory Library employee Maeva Masterson. ‘We hope that people will feel the way that they view the world is validated and important … They can come into their library and they don’t have to reinterpret the world to be able to access a book.’
The pilot system has been widely accepted in the community, with other remote libraries in the area expressing interest in replacing the DDC with a similar system.