May 19, 2022

Report: Two Pittsburgh Area Public Libraries Using BISAC Subject Heading to Organize Some Materials, More Libraries Possible

More libraries are using or considering the use of BISAC Subject Headings from the Book Industry Study Group.

From The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review:

“I don’t think any of us have ever gone into a bookstore and browsed and said, ‘Darn, I wish they had the Dewey Decimal System here,’ ” said Dennis Luther, director of the Brentwood Library. “It always seems comfortable to walk around a bookstore.”

To reach that comfort level, Brentwood a year ago began displaying some special collections, on basic living, gardening, small business and weddings, as a bookstore would.


Carnegie Library in Oakland in 2004 created a similar system on its first floor, where material is presented to resemble a bookstore more than a traditional library.


Brentwood and Carnegie still organize their main stacks under the Dewey Decimal System, which uses a standard set of numbers and letters to organize shelves.

“Besides people who work at a library, not a lot of people understand (the Dewey) system,” said Dustin Shilling, director of Northern Tier Regional Library.

Some branches of the Carnegie Library could adopt BISAC permanently by next year, said Sheila Jackson, assistant director of main library services.

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See Also: Complete BISAC Subject Headings

See Also: BISAC Tutorial and FAQ

See Also: Report on Jefferson Parrish Library in Louisiana Using BISAC (LJ; Dec. 2011)

See Also: To Dewey or Not to Dewey: Libraries Go Dewey-Free (April 27, 2011)

See Also: Rangeview Library District, CO, First System To Fully Drop Dewey (LJ; June, 2009)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.