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Library Call Numbers

How to find library materials using the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC).

How to Read a Call Number

 Call numbers are found on the cover or spine of library materials (books, journals, and DVDs). 

 Each line of a call number represents a separate piece of information.

  • The first two lines organize the item by subject. Example of a call number that indicates the first two line, third line, and last line.
    • Read the first line in alphabetical order: A, B, C...
    • Read the second line as a whole number: 1, 2, 3...
  • The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers and often represents the author's last name.
    • Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal.
  • The last line represents the year the item was published. 
    • Read in chronological order


Instructional Video on Call Numbers

Library of Congress Call Number Quiz - Test your knowledge!