The LC system is one of the most widely used classification systems in the world, and it is conducive to browsing as books of the same topic are generally shelved together.
Below you can see how the LC system's call numbers work, if you were to look at a shelf of books.
Now that you know how LC call numbers are arranged, let's look at a further breakdown of a call number.
PR Call numbers begin with one or more letters and are based on the general subject area
PR is the classification for English Literature
Arranged on the shelf in alphabetical order
6029 The second line is a whole number that indicates a more specific subject area
6029 falls under the Drama subclass
Arranged on the shelf in numerical order within the PR section
.R8 The third line is a combination of letters and numbers that usually represent the author's last name
This number should be read as a decimal. (.R8 comes before .W6)
Arranged on the shelf in alphabetical then decimal order
N49 The fourth line is a second combination of letters and numbers to further refine
Can indicate a further subtopic, an author/artist, language, geographic region, etc.
These numbers are not always present; some call numbers will not contain a fourth line
2015 Publication date
Arranged chronologically on the shelf
1. The call number - This indicates where the book is on the shelf
2. The collection - This indicates where the book is in the library.
At SC4 Library, the "Circulating Books" collection refers to the majority of the books in our moveable stacks.
3. The item status - This indicates whether the book is checked in, checked out, missing, etc.
4. The location - St. Clair County Community College
There are several other collection designations at SC4 Library. If you're not sure where a book or other item is located, please ask a librarian!
With the Library of Congress system, books of similar topics are placed together on the shelves, which is more conducive to browsing. You may use OneSearch or the library catalog to find a particular book and go to the shelves to retrieve it, only to find a potentially much better book for your subject on the shelf next to the one you had originally found.
For more information on the LC system, visit the Library of Congress' website.
Image: " English: An Infographic detailing the various disciplines covered by the Library of Congress Classification System." Wikimedia, 14 May 2015, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Library_of_Congress_Classification_System.png#filehistory. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.