Libraries use classification systems to organize the books on the shelves. A classification system uses letters and/or numbers (call numbers) to arrange the books so that books on the same topic are together. This arrangement results in “serendipitous browsing” you can find one book in the catalog, go to the shelf, and an even better book is sitting right next to it. All books in the John B. Cade Library at Southern University are arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification (LC Classification) System.
What does the call number mean?
A call number is like an address; it tells you where the book is located on the shelf. Each book, and journal, etc. has its own unique call number which is attached to the book’s spine or upper left hand corner of the cover (or envelope). A book’s call number also appears in the catalog entry in the library’s online catalog. The Library of Congress Classification arranges materials by subjects. The firs sections of the call number represent the subject of the book. The letter-and-decimal section of the call number often represents the author’s last name. And, as you recall, the last section of a call number is often the date of publication.