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How to read shelf numbers.

Books in this library are shelved according to the Library of Congress Classification System, which tries to separate all knowledge into 20 classes. Each class corresponds to a letter of the alphabet and is then further subdivided into subclasses using additional letters and numbers. For example, you would find J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye listed under PS3537 A426 C3 1951. This number, known as a ‘call number’ tells us where the book is located in the stacks:


catcher in the rye spine sticker


Listed below are the 20 classes and their corresponding letters, the first letters in LC Call Numbers. This will give you an idea of where the books you are looking for will be located. For a more comprehensive look at LC Classes and their subheadings, check out the General Guide to the Library of Congress Classification System.

A General Works M Music
B Philosophy-Religion-Psychology N Fine Arts
C History (Civilization) P Language and Lingusitics
D History (Except America) Q Science and Math
E American History R Medicine
F Local American, Latin American History S Agriculture
G Geography-Anthropology T Technology
H Social Sciences U Military Science
J Political Science V Naval Science
K Law Z Bibliography, Library Science
L Education

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