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Library of Congress Call Numbers

Like most academic universities, the American University Library follows the Library of Congress (LoC) classification system. LoC classification organizes books by broad subject categories such as World History, Science, and Geography and then into smaller subclasses within those categories. The first letter in the LoC call number represents the broad subject, e.g., D for World History. The second letter denotes a smaller subclass, for example DA is the subclass for the History of Great Britain.

The numbers following the subclass should be treated as a whole number when trying to locate a book. In this example: DA405 .G87 2007 would be shelved before DA 566.9 .B2 M29 1985 because 405 numerically comes before 566.9. Numbers after the decimal point are treated as decimal numbers smaller than 1.0. In this example: DA405 .B44 would be shelved before DA405 .B9 because 0.44 numerically comes before 0.90.

Call Numbers by Floor

  • Call numbers N - NX and TR - Lower Level
  • Call numbers AC through HX - Second Floor
  • Call numbers J through ZA - Third Floor (except N-NX + TR)

In addition to the main stacks, the library also has several smaller collections. The Visual Arts Collection, shelved on the Lower Level, contains the library's visual art, design, and photography books. Also shelved on the Lower Level is the Folio Collection, consisting of oversized books. The Graphic Novel Collection, Travel Book Collection and Popular Reading Collection are all shelved on the ground floor of the library. Current periodicals, microform/fiche, and Media Services are located on the Lower Level. Course Reserves is on the First Floor.

Washington Research Libraries Consortium (WRLC) Shared Collections Facility

Some items may show up in the catalog as being located at "WRLC Storage", with the availability status "available for delivery". The WRLC Shared Collections Facility houses over 1.8 million books owed by all WRLC universities. Any item housed in storage can be sent to the library for American University students/staff/and faculty by placing a request.

Storage items which are owned by American University can also be requested by AU Alumni and Associate Borrowers. Guests (patrons not affiliated with American University or any of the consortium schools) can contact Interlibrary Loan to request AU owned storage items for on-site library use only.

Contact Us

(202) 885-3221
Bender Library, First Floor