Skip to Main Content

Understanding Call Numbers

Find books on the shelves more quickly with this quick overview of how to read Library of Congress call numbers.

Order of Call Numbers on the Shelf

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.

Here is a list of call numbers, with explanations of how they were put in order:

  1. LA2301 .M37
  2. LB2327 .M3 (LB comes after LA)
  3. LB2328 .B37 (2328 comes after 2327)
  4. LB2328 .C34 (C comes after B)
  5. LB2395 .B35 2009 (2395 comes after 2328)
  6. LB2395 .B87 2003 (Both start with LB2395 .B, decimal .87 comes after .35)
  7. LB2395 .C45 2007 (C comes after B)
  8. LB2395 .D739 2010 (D comes after C)

Here is how they would look on the shelf. You will notice that the LB2395 books all deal with similar subject content.

books on a shelf showing call number and title of book

Books on a shelf in call number order and the book titles

  1. LB2395 .B35 2009 - Studying arts and humanities
  2. LB2395 .B87 2003 - Essential study skills
  3. LB2395 .C45 2007 - Student's guide to presentations
  4. LB2395 .D739 2010 - Guide to learning and study skills