“Concerning Classification Schemes for Libraries”

{Comparing classification schemes from the notebook written by William A. Borden}

The Institute Library’s classification system is unique. It was created by our first professional librarian, William A. Borden, who served as librarian between 1897- and 1903-1910.

After the establishment of the New Haven Free Public Library in 1887, the Institute Library began to withdraw from the public life of the city and focus primarily on expanding and circulating its collection of general-interest and popular literature. The librarian during this period, William A. Borden, made use of the Institute Library as a laboratory in which to experiment with new library technologies and practices. During the first six months his engagement, he developed a new classification system for the library’s collection, which is unique to the Institute Library and remains in use today, together with Borden’s original card catalog.

In 1910, Borden accepted an invitation from the progressive Indian prince, Maharaja Savajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda, to create and direct a free public library system for the people of his state.

“Instructors and members of the Summer School for Town Librarians, Baroda, June 1913”

Among our archival collections are Borden’s manuscripts describing his classification system and theory, his card catalogue (which we still update), and copies of a dissertation analyzing his work in India.