Answered By: Anne Grant
Last Updated: Oct 05, 2017     Views: 6551

What is it?

Every book in our library has a unique call number, which is kind of like the book's address. We use Library of Congress Classification, which is different from the Dewey Decimal Classification used in most public and K-12 libraries.

Read call numbers on shelves like lines in a book

Call numbers can be found in our catalog (usually written all on one line like GV950.7.C64 2013) and each matches a label on a book, usually on the part we call the spine and written like this:


Call numbers help you find a particular book and also help us arrange all the books around it on the shelf.

What does it mean?

Library of Congress Classification is a way to group and arrange items by subject. The first part of the call number indicates a particular subject area, such as K for law, N for fine arts, and T for technology. Two letters means a topic is a subset of a bigger area. For example, Q is science and QL is zoology.

Football by Greg Colby has the call number:

GV950.7    - describes the subject of the book
.C64         - based on the author's last name
2013         - the year the book was published

Why should I care?

Now you can find books and know to look nearby for books that might relate to your topic! You can also tell right away if a book might be too old or outdated for your information need.