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Circulation Student Employee Manual: Library of Congress Classification System

Guide for student employees working in the Circulation Department

How to Find a Book by its Call Number

You have a call number for the book you need … now, where is it in the library “stacks”?  In the Guerrieri Academic Commons, the stacks are divided into two sections on the 3rd floor.  (south end:  A-H, juvenile, government documents; north end: H-Z, folio, bound journals)

  1. First, check the call number locator map to find the shelf number where the book is located.
  2. Signage at the end of each row of books lists the shelf number with the range of call numbers you’ll find down that row. Think of these as “street signs.”
  3. Now, think of the call number you need as a specific alpha-numeric “address.” The first element is a letter or group of letters (e.g., B or QC), followed by numerals (e.g., B99 or QC801).
  4. You’ve narrowed the search to a specific shelf or set of shelves; now you’ll look at the second set of letters/numbers in the call number, usually preceded by a period (e.g. QC801 .G43). Think of these as the house or apartment number. Follow the alphanumeric system and you’ll get there.
  5. Some books have another line of “directions;” just remember to continue, line by line, in alpha-numeric order till you reach your destination.

Find It

How Are Books Categorized on Our Shelves?

We use the Library of Congress classification system to organize our books in the 3rd floor stacks.  The Library of Congress categorizes books by subject area.  Click here to learn more about its classification system and view and print more detailed section descriptions.

Help Us Keep the Shelves in Order


Please do not place materials incorrectly on a shelf just to shelve them. If you are not sure where it goes, it is better to leave an item on a cart.  Misshelved items create more work for everyone, because staff must spend time searching for them, and users are not able to find them when needed.

  1. Shelving is a skill that needs to be developed.  Accuracy is extremely important. 
  2. Materials are shelved in accordance with the Library of Congress (LC) System. All student employees are trained in shelving materials properly.
  3. If you notice materials out of order on the shelves, please remove them and replace them where they belong or place them on a cart so they don’t stay lost.  When one item gets misfiled, all around it may follow.  Getting them back in order becomes a complicated, lengthy puzzle. 
  4. Please do not place items on a full shelf. If there is inadequate room, notify a staff member for assistance in shifting.
Shelving is a very important job. It is an essential part of keeping the library running smoothly. Dusting and stacks maintenance help us maintain a user friendly and habitable environment.