Don't pull your hair out over a call number. Any library worker is happy to help you find what you're looking for!
Library of Congress - Subject Areas
The Library of Congress Outline link leads to a quick overview of which Call "letters" go with which Topic.
(You don't need to know this to use the library.)
Get Lost in a Book!
Dewey and LC
Most public and some academic libraries use the Dewey system. In Dewey, call numbers consist of NUMBERS.
The Van Wylen Library uses the LC (Library of Congress) system. In LC, call numbers begin with LETTERS.
Sample LC Call Numbers
Some sample titles and their call numbers:
Anatomy of a Library of Congress Call Number
Reading LC Call Numbers
Call numbers are read line by line.
1. Read the first line in alphabetical order:
A, B, BF, C, D, ...L, LB, LC, P, PR ...
2. Read the second line as a whole number:
1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 1000, 4000, 4037 ...
3. The third line is a combination of a letter and one or more numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number(s) as a decimal.
.J before .K
.J21 = .21 .J36 = .36 .K724 = .724 .K72 = .72 .K84 = .84
.21 before .36
.724 before .84
4. Read the date chronologically:
1964, 1975, 1998, 2003
Sample Shelf Order:
Want to know more about what the various letter combinations and numbers stand for? This page (Hampshire College) gives a helpful overview.
Links to exercises on LC Call Numbers
Test yourself with this quick game of "drag and drop."
This game asks you to "drag" books into call number order.