Dewey drops knowledge on Creekside

Published 10:58 pm Monday, April 25, 2011

Scooter Hayes of Wilmington, N.C., performs his songs about library topics, like the Dewey Decimal System for students at Creekside Elementary School Monday. Hayes has a master’s degree in library science.

His name is Dewey, and he’s going to help you find some information, son.

In “The Dewey Decimal Rap,” storyYELLER Scooter Hayes brings life and fun to the daunting organizational system that categorizes non-fiction books in libraries.

“One time in library land, I was looking for information, man,” Hayes sings in his Dewey rap. “Couldn’t find it anywhere; books scattered everywhere.”

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Hayes, who lives in Wilmington, N.C., brought his skills to Creekside Elementary School on Monday to help cement what the students are learning about the Dewey Decimal System and other library topics in his upbeat and catchy rhymes.

“It just sticks with them, and that’s what we want,” Creekside librarian Kim Hobson Richardson said.

This was a second take for Hayes’s performance at Creekside. He was originally supposed to come in December, but snow kept him away.

Richardson contacted Hayes for a performance after she found his YouTube video of “The Dewey Decimal Rap” in August and started playing it for her students.

“(The song) teaches our kids how to work the nonfiction section,” Richardson said. “The Dewey Decimal System is not an easy concept to learn.”

Richardson said she jumps at any opportunity to incorporate different learning opportunities, such as music, into her lessons.

“We’re just trying to bring in another element of fun into the library,” she said.

Creekside classes of all ages grouped together in the gym to watch Hayes perform. They waved their arms in the air, jumped up and down with Hayes and sung along to “The Dewey Decimal Rap.”

Students especially enjoyed “The Evil Librarian,” which aims to teach respect for librarians and to avoid stereotyping. The kids got the chance to be a part of the song as Hayes played the librarian, insisting they keep quiet, while the students shouted “no.”

In his songs like “Make the Scanner Go Beep” and “Welcome to the Library,” Hayes discusses using your library card and finding resources while advocating reading and accepting others.

Richardson said the students enjoyed Hayes’ performance. To get feedback on the event and hone their writing skills, she asked the children to write four sentences about what they learned.

One student said he can rap better now. Another said he learned that boys could be librarians, too.

Hayes has a master’s degree in library science and created “The Dewey Decimal Rap” as a project for a cataloging course at North Carolina Central University.

“I thought it would be fun to do a rap and a video,” he said.

Hayes said he had no idea his YouTube video would go viral and that he would get requests for performances. Richardson’s was the first request from a school.

Hayes said that first call from Richardson inspired him to put together an album and performance to take to schools.

Hayes said he has always been a performer but was focusing on other things, like working at the New Hanover County Library in North Carolina, when he got the chance to get back into action.

“This has resurrected my performing,” he said, adding he’s very surprised about it.

Hayes has an EP, “Deweylicious,” available, and he will release his full album June 11, he said.

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