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Roxbury Community College Library

How to Find Materials on Shelf

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The Library of Congress (LC) Classification System

The RCC Library organizes books and other materials on the shelf according to the Library of Congress, or LC, Classification System. This is the same system used by the Boston Public Library and most college libraries. Every book in our collection has its LC call number printed on a label on its spine. To see a description of the classes and sub-classes of the LC Classification System, visit LC Classification System.

Since the LC Classification System organizes books by subject, it is possible to browse the shelves and find similar books together.

Each call number is made of several parts. For instance the call number RA859.3 .C65 2000 can be broken down in the following manner:

Alphabetical order RA
Whole numerical order 859.3
Decimal alphanumerical order .C65
Year of publication 2000

The call numbers are in alpha-numeric order starting with the first line and working down. There is a decimal point at the beginning of the third line and the numbers in it are decimals, not whole numbers. Look at these three similar call numbers. They are in correct order because the third lines are treated as decimals.


859.3 859.3 859.3
.C132 .C65 .C7
1996 2001 1999


Starting with the call number from the online catalog, it is possible to find most books on the shelf. Follow these methodical steps to find your book quickly:

  • Look in the correct location: Stacks, Reference, Reserves, etc.
  • Within the location, find the correct range of shelving. There are signs at the end of each row, which will tell you the first and last call numbers shelved there.
  • Within the correct range, look at one call number in the first section of shelving, then one in the next section until you find the correct section.
  • Find the correct book on the shelf.
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