What it is: Named after the mother of Athena, this library classification system for children PreK through 5 was created in 2011 by a team of librarians in New York who were questioning the use of the Dewey Decimal System in their library. They wanted to create a system that would better suit children and their ways of searching, creating a system that was more intuitive and followed their intellectual development more closely. Since the introduction of the system, the library has seen a significant increase in circulation, especially with children in grades three to five (Copeland, 2013).
Please note that this system was created for a particular library in mind, but can be modified for use in other libraries. The breakdown of categories, subdivisions, and labels are available on their website for use under a Creative Commons license.
How it Works: Metis uses whole language, visual cues, and logic that reflects the experiences of a child. There are 26 flexible, broad categories that use the letters of the alphabet. Each category is divided into sub-categories, which are also divided alphabetically. There are a variety of ways in which sub-categories are arranged based on the age of child for which the materials are meant. For the particular library this was used for, categories were divided into three age levels (PreK-2, 3-5, and 2-4).
The spines of each book use three elements that help in the idenitfying of the book: 1) A call number that reflects the call number in the online catalog 2) A star or dot that represents the area it goes in 3) A picture label of the subject it belongs in
Examples: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket could be found in either S. Mystery or X. Fiction.
Picture label examples: S. Mystery (Bottom left) V. Graphic (Bottom right)
The Metis system includes a separate section for graphic novels. However, this is for the older grades. For younger grades, this section is: V. Pictures