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Library of Congress: What is a Call Number?

This guide will explain how the R-CCC Learning Resource Center is arranged in the Library of Congress Classification System

Library of Congress Classification System

Most books in the Roanoke-Chowan Community College Library are arranged by the Library of Congress Classification System. The system divides all knowledge into twenty-one basic classes, each identified by a single letter of the alphabet. Most of these alphabetical classes are further divided into more specific subclasses, identified by two-letter, or occasionally, three-letter combinations.

For example:

Class K - Law

Library of Congress Classification: Class K -- Law

·         Subclass K - Law in general. Comparative and uniform law. Jurisprudence

·         Subclass KB - Religious law in general. Comparative religious law. Jurisprudence

·         Subclass KBM - Jewish law

·         Subclass KBP - Islamic law

·         Subclass KBR - History of canon law

·         Subclass KBU - Law of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy See

·         Subclasses - KD-KDK United Kingdom and Ireland

·         Subclass KDZ - America. North America

·         Subclass KE - Canada

·         Subclass KF - United States

·         Subclass KG - Latin America - Mexico and Cen. America - West Indies. Caribbean

·         Subclass KH - South America

·         Subclasses KJ-KKZ - Europe

·         Subclasses KL-KWX - Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica

·         Subclass KZ - Law of nations

You can see the complete list of the Library of Congress call numbers by clicking on the link below:

                      Library of Congress Classification Outline

What is a Call Number?

A call number is like a house address. It tells you where an item is located in a library. Each title owned by a library has its own unique call number. 

Call numbers appear:

Call numbers are usually on the spine of a library item, so they can be easily read on book shelves. Sometimes, when a spine is too narrow, the call number will be on the book's cover.


Anatomy of a Library of Congress Call Number

Book title:           Learned Hand : the man and the judge.

Author:                Gunther, Gerald

Call number:      KF373.H29 G86 2011      

Let’s look at this call number to see how this classification system works:

KF   - letter line, describes general subject area; alphabetical order

373 – number line, narrows subject area; numerical order

.H29 – cutter line, further narrows subject area or specifies author;  alphabetical  then decimal order

G86 – 2nd cutter line (if present) also in alphabetical then decimal order

2011 – year of publication, numerical order

Symposia, meetings, etc. use the date of the meeting and not the date of publication in the call number.