Books and Call Numbers

Libraries use classification systems to organize the books and videos on the shelves in subject order. Most public libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) which uses only numbers to arrange materials on the shelves. Most academic libraries, including Reynolds Library, use the Library of Congress Classification System (LC).

The Library of Congress Classification system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials on the shelves.

These classification systems allow each book and video in the library to be assigned a unique call number. A call number is like an address; it indicates where the book is located on the library shelves.

Anatomy of a Call Number:


A call number label is attached to each item. Every item record in the library catalog also includes a call number. When searching the library catalog, you want to be sure to jot down the complete LC call number in order to locate the item on the shelf. (Hint: It is the same number if written on multiple lines as shown in the illustration above, or straight across, like this: LB 2395 .C65 1991.)

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