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About the Library: Organization of Materials


NOTE: The majority of our MCC Library Collection is now online (eJournals and eBooks). We add only a limited number of new titles to our print collection each year. Books can be borrowed from other libraries via Interlibrary Loan. Please ask a librarian for help if you cannot find the book you need.

MCC Library Print Collection: Library of Congress Classification

As a general rule, all Libraries in the United States use one of two systems to classify and organize books and other materials.  Many public and some college libraries use the Dewey Decimal system.  Most College and University libraries use the Library of Congress Classification system.  Both systems accomplish the same purposes – organizing the books into subject areas.  They differ in that the Dewey System assigns a number code to each book, while the Library of Congress system assigns a letter and number code.

The Library of Congress Classification (LC) System @ MCC

The LC Classification uses the following schedule to arrange books by subject:

A -- General Works
B -- Philosopy, Psychology, Religion
C -- General History, Archaeology, Geneology, etc.
D --

World History, History of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

E - F -- History of the Americas (United States, British America, Dutch America, French America, Latin America, Spanish America)
G -- Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
H -- Social Sciences
J -- Political Sciences
K --


L -- Education
M -- Music
N -- Fine Arts
P -- Language & Literature
Q -- Sciences
R -- Medicine
S -- Agriculture
T -- Technology
U -- Military Science
V -- Naval Science
Z -- Library & Information Science

Finding Materials

  • The arrangement of materials on the shelves is alphabetical by their classification letters, from A to Z and within each group numerically from 1 to 9999.
  • Materials are labeled with their classification number on their spines, and code letters appear at the ends of each row of stacks.
  • The letter and the number code which is assigned to each book is known as a call number, and might look like this:


This is the call number for The Computer: A Very Short Introduction by Darrel Ince

The call number is both on the spine of the resource and on the record that represents this book in the OPAC (On-line Public Access Catalog).

The letter part of the call number indicates the broad subject area of the book.  The first number line indicates a more specific or narrower subject area.  The letter and number on the third line are a code for the author’s last name.

If you go to any section of shelves, you will notice that the call numbers run from left to right, and you will see that they are arranged in alphabetical and numerical order as below:





You can see that this keeps the books in a logical sequence on the shelves and that they are thus, roughly arranged by subject.

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