Library & Resource Center

Navigating The LRC

The Dewey Decimal Classification System is used by most school, and public libraries to organize their collections by subject and/or author. It allows every title in a large collection to be located either by physical browsing, or virtual (online catalog) searching. DDC divides all books into ten classes (broad subjects), each of which is divided again into ten narrower divisions. Each of these divisions are divided still further into ten sections. After that decimals are used to fine tune even more. For example: the first title that shows up on the results list (940.2) when you search our catalog for the subject "Renaissance" will be in the broad nonfiction region of the 900’s (History & Geography). The 940’s cover the general history of Europe. The "2" after the decimal narrows it down even further: European history from 1453 onward.The DDC number is the exact “address” of the title, or where you will find it on the shelves. There are signs up on the ends of our bookcases that tell you which aisles contain these addresses. There will soon be other smaller signs that help you find the subgroups within these aisles. 

ElRo's library does not follow DDC as strictly as larger libraries. For a good introduction to DDC, click here. If you know how to use the online catalog (view the Taking Charge of Your Destiny, on "Ms. M's Tutorials" page), it's not really necessary to know all the Dewey subject classifications. But, understanding the way books are ordered will help you find what you're looking for on the shelves. The most important thing to remember is that all books using DDC are filed first numerically by ascending number, digit by digit., and then letter by letter. If there are no numbers, as in the case of biographies and fiction, they will be shelved alphabetically, using the last three letters (called the "cutter"). These last three numbers are the first three letters of the author’s, or in the case of biographies, the subject’s last name. 

The LRC's nine rows of books are ordered in an S-shape. Nonfiction starts on the window side, in back with the 000's (General), and moves toward the front in ascending order. The sequence then starts to snake back to the wall, and then up again until the end of the biographies (B or Bio)." Reference ("REF" + call number) books begin after biographies (click here for definitions of various types of Reference materials). Fiction begins with the row opposite the wall with the SmartBoard, beginning with the "A's" (front of library), moving back, and up again along the wall. It continues along the entryway shelves, by the library's front door. Here's a good summary of the DDC, which you may want to print out.

Also, please view Introduction to The ElRo Library & Resource Center Website, on "Ms. M's Tutorials" page.

If you view both the tutorials mentioned on this page, you'll be in great shape for any assignment that requires research. Ms. M. has many other tutorials that will help you fine-tune your research skills. You may view them as the need arises. Ms. M is in the LRC on Monday from 8:20-2:40, Tuesday from 8:20-4, and Wednesday-Friday from 9:40-4. Stop by if you need help.