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Library of Congress Classification System: So how do I find a book?

Understanding Library of Congress Classification at the USA University Library

Got Questions?

You can get answers by:

  • Stopping by the Marx Library reference desk on the 2nd floor north.
  • Emailing me at
  • Emailing the reference department at
  • Calling the reference desk at 460-7025.
  • Using the chat box on this page - but check to make sure we're online.

Ask a Librarian

Chat live or visit our Ask a Librarian page for more contact information.

Live chat hours:
Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: 1:30pm - 9:00pm

Please be patient; we may be helping others at the reference desk. If we are offline, call or send an email to

Tips for Finding Books at the USA University Library

  • The first line is always a Letter Line and is filed alphabetically.
  • The second line is a Whole Number line and is filed numerically.
  • Sometimes the second line is decimalized and continued on the same line or on the third line. Anytime you see a decimal point, always take each space separately (do not consider it a whole number).
  • However, generally the third line is a Cutter Line. It begins with a decimal, then a letter. Always read each digit separately in the Cutter Line. Remember if there is a decimal point, take one space at a time. The Cutter Line may also be split on two lines, but when this occurs there is only a decimal point at the very beginning of the Cutter Line.
  • Other lines may include volume numbers, copy numbers, dates or a combination.
  • Letters before numbers.
  • Nothing comes before something.
  • No date comes before a date.

Remember...if you can't find a book; please ask a librarian! We are here to help!

Thanks Kent State Library Tutorials

Guide Creator

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Elizabeth Shepard
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University Library Room 246