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Using the Library of Congress Classification System in the Main Library: Find a Book in the Stacks

This guide is a tutorial for using the LOC Classification System in the Anderson Academic Commons.

Moveable Shelving

To maximize the number of monographs we can have on site in the library, we have installed moveable, compact shelving on the lower level.  The stacks of books move along rails, propelled by the turn of the handle at the end of the stack.  The shelves glide easily as the handle is turned.

To learn about how to use this shelving, see our Research Guide.

Finding Books

The books in the Penrose Collections Library Stacks are organized by their Library of Congress Call Number, which are found in the catalog... 

 ... and on the book's spine.


When searching the library catalog, you want to be sure to write down the complete LC call number in order to locate the book on the shelf.


Read the Call Number line-by-line to locate the book in the stacks. 

2. Use the map of the stacks to find the location of the subject. 

3. Fit the first two lines of the call number within the ranges provided on the stacks. For example, Z665 falls between Z8 and Z669.5, because numbers with fewer digits are shelved before numbers with more digits (e.g. both Z8 and Z9 will be shelved before Z89) so the book is shelved on this shelf:


Can't fit in the small space between the shelving? See this Research Guide for information about the Moveable Shelving in the Library.

4. Go alphabetically and numerically until you find the correct class (Z), subclass (Z) category (665) and subcategory (.L69) until you find the book:


If you have trouble, stop by the Research Center Desk for assistance!


What do I do now?

You are free to take the book off the shelf to read, peruse, or otherwise enjoy. When you are finished, simply leave the book on a table near the stacks and library staff will reshelve it for you.

To check out the book, take it to the Lending Desk by the doors on the South side of the Main Level.

Research Center

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Research Center Desk
Visit our "Make an Appointment" page to schedule a research consultation with a reference librarian.

You can also get in touch with the Research Center Desk during our operating hours at (303) 871-2905.