Call Numbers

  • Carlow uses the Library of Congress (LC) call number system, which is used by most college and university libraries, to classify books.

    The LC system is quite different from the Dewey system you are probably accustomed to, and many students have trouble finding books on the shelves at first. The LC call number system uses a combination of letters and numbers to make up the "call number" for a book.  In this example of a typical LC call number, 

     a.         TJ
                 163.3
     b.          F72

    a. The first two lines of the number are a code that represents the subject of the book. 

    To find this book on the shelf consult the directory of book locations. You would see that the "T's" are located on the 3rd level.  On the 3rd level you would then progress alphabetically through the T's, TA's, TB's, etc. until you  arrive at the TJ's.  You would then be looking for the second line of the call number, and you should expect to find this number sequentially here:

    TH TJ TJ TJ TJ TK
    7703 14 146 163.3 211 4

    b.  The third line is a code that represents the author's name, and it must be read as a decimal (although there is no decimal point present). You would find this book sequentially here:  

    TJ TJ TJ
    163.3 163.3 163.3
    F634 F72 F8

    In other words, the last three lines are read as if they were:

    F6.34
    F7.2
    F8.0

    Some books have call numbers more than three lines long.  As a guiding principle, whenever a line of a call number begins with a letter and is followed by a number, read that number as a decimal:  

       TK    TK    TK
       140    140    140
       B37    B37    B37
       B345 (read as B3.45)    B78 (read as B7.8)    B8 (read as B8.0)

    If you have trouble finding your books on the shelves, return to the 2nd level of the library and ask at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk for help.

    Library of Congress Classification Scheme

    If the Call number begins with

    The subject of the book will be

    A-AZ

    GENERAL WORKS
    B-BZ PHILOSOPHY/THEOLOGY
    C-CT HISTORY/AUXILIARY SCIENCE
    D-DX HISTORY (EXCEPT AMERICA)
    E-F HISTORY (AMERICA)
    G-GV GEOGRAPHY/ANTHROPOLOGY
    H-HX SOCIAL SCIENCES
    J-JX POLITICAL SCIENCE
    K-KF LAW
    L-LJ EDUCATION
    M-MT MUSIC
    N-NX ART
    P-PZ LANGUAGE/LITERATURE
    Q-QR SCIENCE
    R-RZ MEDICINE/NURSING
    S AGRICULTURE
    T-TX TECHNOLOGY
    U-V MILITARY/NAVAL
    Z BIBLIOGRAPHY/LIBRARY SCIENCE