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Organizing Library Books: Library of Congress Classification

"Shelf Reading" is a process for ensuring that the items on the library shelves are in proper order.


"The Library of Congress Classification (LC) is a classification system that was first developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to organize and arrange the book collections of the Library of Congress. Over the course of the twentieth century, the system was adopted for use by other libraries..." [more]

A majority of the collections in Booth Library are organized using the LC system, the General Collection; Archives; Reference; and Juvenile Literature (a.k.a. Children's Literature)

The other classification systems Booth Library use: The Superintendent of Documents Classification for federal government documents; and a media classification system for videos, DVDs, and CDs.

How to read a LC call number

Courtesy of the University of Arkansas Libraries

Spine Label

On each book is an organizing "code" so it can be located on the book shelf. It is also used to group related titles together. This "code" is known as a Call Number.

The Call Number is placed on a label and attached to the edge of the book, known as the spine of the book, which is why it is called a Spine Label.

Looking at an example of a spine label, here's how to break the code:




Here is the book used in the above example:

Library Catalog View

View of the book from the Library Catalog: