Skip to Main Content

How Books and Materials are Shelved in the Library

Guide on understanding how books and materials are arranged and labeled within the library collection.

Call Numbers

Books in the library are classified and organized on our shelves by Library of Congress Classification (LOC). This classification is a way of organizing and shelving things based on different subjects. A book's LOC call number is usually found lower part of a book's spine. It is a series of letters and numbers arranged in specific ways. Library users may often be familiar with different classification systems such as the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). Typically, you will find that college and university libraries, as well as other research institutions, utilize the LOC system. 

It can be intimidating at first, but with just very little practice, you will be able to find just about anything in the library with ease! 

Reading a Call Number - Reading & Using LC Call Numbers - Pfeiffer Library  at Tiffin University

Call Numbers for Course Reserves and other MVC Locations

Some books and material are in unique locations of the library and therefore have a slightly different call number format. For example, course reserves, which are required materials for different courses, have a call number which contains the course subject and course code. Other different call number formats include Oversize books and the Juvenile collection. These call numbers utilize the Library of Congress call number, but also list the location of the item right above it.  

Reference: (951) 571-6447 | Circulation: (951) 571-6356 | Text/SMS: (951) 319-7358 | Email:; | Drop in Zoom: | Chat: