Understanding Call Numbers

What are call numbers for?

Each book in the library has a unique call number. A call number is like an address: it tells us where the book is located in the library.  Call numbers appear  

Call numbers appear on the spines of books 
				and in the online catalog
Note that the same call number can be written from
top-to-bottom, or left-to-right. 

The Eli M. Oboler Library, like many academic libraries in the U.S., uses the Library of Congress Classification System for call numbers. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials by subjects.

Reading Call Numbers

Read call numbers line by line:
					Read the first line in alphabetical order:
					A, B, BF, C, D ... L, LA LB, LC, M, ML ...
					Read the second line as a whole number:
					1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 2000, 2430 ...
					The third line is a combination of a letter and number.
					Read the letter alphabetically.
					Read the number as a decimal, e.g.  .C65 = .65 .C724 = .724
					Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.
					The last line shows the year the book was published.
					Chronological order: 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992 ...

Putting Call Numbers in Shelf Order

To understand how call numbers are put in order in Library of Congress Classification System, again look at each section of the call number.

Different call numbers in order
					LA before LB
					2327 before 2328
					.B before .C
					.34 before .55
					.55 before .554
					.554 before .63
					1987 before 1991

Why is this important to know?
Because books are classified by subject, you can often find several helpful books on the same shelf, or nearby. For example, within the same call number LB2395, there are other guides for college study.

Similar books are shelved together
					LB2395.C6 1960: A Student's Guide to Efficient Study, by Luella Cole
					LB2395.L447: Keys to College Success, by Minnette Lenier
					LB2395.O54 1983: A Successful Student's Handbook, by Rita Phipps

Since the Library of Congress Classification System arranges materials by subjects, knowing the letter(s) for your subject area gives you a place to start browsing the shelves.