Skip to Main Content

Understanding Call Numbers

What are Call Numbers?

Call numbers are those stickers on the spines of books that look like a jumble of letters and numbers. Each one is unique like an address, and they are how we are able to find books on the shelves.

Specialty Items Loan Periods

In our library, we have two types of call numbers.

Below is an example of each type:


Library of Congress Browsing
Example: PS3552.U73248 C6 1984 Example: Fan Schwab Shad 1
PS: Represents the book's general subject FAN: Represents the book's genre (every genre has a special color)
3552: Represents the book's specific subject Schwab: The author's last name
.U73248: Often represents the author's last name Shad: The first four letters of the name of the series
C6: Represents the name of the work 1: Represents the book's order in the series
1984: Represents the year the book was published  

*Call numbers do not look exactly alike. If they did, they wouldn't have very good addresses.

Library of Congress Classification (LOC)


Click the image above for training on call numbers.



The Library of Congress Classification Outline:

Online Library Learning Center: