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Reading Library Call Numbers

Dewey Decimal System at the Forrer Learning Commons

Right now, there is a large number of materials that are available in the Dewey collection of the library. While we are working to shift all materials from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress, right now there are still Dewey cataloged materials in the collection.

In the Forrer Learning Commons, the Dewey Decimal System is located at:

  • 000's to 900's and Special Collections 000's to 900's: Lower floor
  • Reference 000's to 900's: Main (ground level) floor

The Dewey Classes

There are 10 main Dewey Decimal call number classifications or classes:

These classes are each broken up into subclasses. For example:

600 call numbers deal with Technology
640 call numbers deal with Home Economics & Family Living
641 call numbers deal with Food and Drink (i.e.—cooking)

Following the class number, there is a decimal that allows for further specification of topic. For example:

641.5 is Cooking
641.55 is Quick Meals Cooking
641.555 is Time-saving Economical Quick Meals Cooking

Finding Dewey Materials on the Shelf

Dewey is deliberately easy to use. Resources are shelved in alphanumerical order from left to right, so smaller numbers will be to the left of the shelf and A will come before B. Additionally, publication year will be from oldest to newest if materials have the same call number. For example a shelf could look like this:

940.21
B123
2010

940.21
Z123
2010

940.31
Z123
2010

941.21
G123
2010

941.21
G123
2020

Dewey can be a lot to wrap your head around, so if you're struggling to find the book you're looking for, please feel free to ask at the Circulation Desk. We'd be happy to point you in the right direction!