The Efficient, Inventive (Often Annoying) Melvil Dewey (Hardcover)

By Alexis O'Neill, Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator)

Calkins Creek, 9781684371983, 40pp.

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Melvil Dewey's love of organization and words drove him to develop and implement his Dewey Decimal system, leaving a significant and lasting impact in libraries across the country.

When Melvil Dewey realized every library organized their books differently, he wondered if he could invent a system all libraries could use to organize them efficiently. A rat-a-tat speaker, Melvil was a persistent (and noisy) advocate for free public libraries. And while he made enemies along the way as he pushed for changes--like his battle to establish the first library school with women as students, through it all he was EFFICIENT, INVENTIVE, and often ANNOYING as he made big changes in the world of public libraries--changes still found in the libraries of today!

About the Author

Alexis O'Neill is the award-winning author of multiple picture books, including The Recess Queen, Loud Emily, and Calkins Creek's Jacob Riis's Camera and The Kite That Bridged Two Nations. She has been honored with the California Reading Association Dr. Marcus Foster Memorial Award for making significant and outstanding contributions to reading throughout California.

Edwin Fotheringham is the award-winning illustrator of many picture book biographies, including Full of Beans, Blue Grass Boy, What to Do About Alice?, and Those Rebels, John & Tom. He is also the illustrator of the "Tony Baloney" series by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Visit

Praise For The Efficient, Inventive (Often Annoying) Melvil Dewey

"This picture-book biography of Melvil Dewey quickly establishes his love for efficiency. Chronological snapshots from his life express his desire to use order to help others, from rescuing books from a burning school to, most notably, developing a consistent numbering system for organizing library books. While some applauded his determination, others found Dewey manipulative and controlling. Bold, capitalized words in the text and digital, caricatured illustrations emphasize both sides of his personality. An author’s note also considers the duality of Dewey’s legacy. Well organized and thought-provoking, like Dewey himself." —Booklist