Posted on July 1, 2019

U.S. Libraries Strip Name of Melvil Dewey from Award Because He Was Antisemitic

Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2019

American librarians are distancing themselves from the founder of the Dewey Decimal system, Melvil Dewey because of his history of antisemitism, racism, and sexual harassment, the Guardian reported.

The council of the American Library Association (ALA) voted to remove Dewey’s name from one of their top awards, the report published on the Thursday stated.

Dewey, reportedly did not allow Jews, African Americans, or other minorities into the Lake Placid Club, which he owned.

He also “made numerous inappropriate physical advances toward women he worked with and wielded professional power over,” the resolution stated.

Along with Dewey Decimal system, Dewey was one of the founders of the ALA.

“To be clear, no one we spoke with is calling for Dewey to be wiped from the history books,” ALA magazine editor-at-large Anne Ford said, according to the Guardians. “Nor are they suggesting that his accomplishments be disregarded. Still, more than 20 years after Dewey’s misconduct was laid bare in Irrepressible Reformer, public acknowledgments of his racism and sexism remain rare.”

The ALA has not yet decided the new name for the Melvil Dewey Medal.