Call numbers at the GLBT Library

image from Chris Cobb's installation, "There is Nothing Wrong in this Whole Wide World" at Adobe Books, San Francisco. Photo by Heather Champ

As much as we’d love to organize our library in rainbow order, it wouldn’t be the most helpful for our users to find that they need. And, well, that’s our goal. So, let’s talk a little bit about how we organize the GLBT Library.

Call numbers help you locate particular books as well as designate the most comprehensive subject of a book and arranges the collection appropriately. To create these call numbers, Wells Library uses Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and Monroe County Public Library uses Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The classification system that the GLBT Library uses was created by the Lavender Library, Archives, and Cultural Exchange (LLACE) for use by GLBT-specific collections. Since most queer material has similar call numbers in the larger DDC and LCC systems, the LLACE classification gives us a little more room to branch out.

For example, let’s look at the call number for Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers:

The hierarchical structure of our classification system lets us break down the numbers:
3 = Sociology
3.5 = Sociology –> Age communities
3.51 = Sociology –> Age communities –> Teenagers
3.518 = Sociology –> Age communities –> Teenagers –> Transgender

All of our call numbers then have the first three letters of the author’s name in capital letters and the first two letters of the item’s title, followed by year of publication.

Listed below is a general representation of the first part of the call numbers and their corresponding subject area. This information is also posted to the left of the door as you enter the library.

1 – General Works 

1.1 Bibliography
1.2 Dictionaries
1.3 Directories, travel guides
1.4 General works, encyclopedias
1.5 Bisexual general works
1.6 Gay male general works
1.7 Lesbian general works
1.8 Transgender general works
1.9 Miscellanea – Statistics, quotes, lists

2 – History
2.0 General History
2.1 African History
2.2 Asian History
2.3 Near and Middle Eastern History
2.4 European History
2.5 North American History
2.6 United States History
2.7 South and Central American History
2.8 Anthropology

3 – Sociology
3.1 Discrimination, oppression, prejudice
3.2 Community
3.23 Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities
3.3 Movements
3.4 Gender Communities
3.5 Age Communities
3.57 Disabled Communities
3.6 Ethnic/Racial Groups
3.7 Social/Cultural Groups
3.71 Drag
3.77 Polyamory

4 – Politics, Government, and Economics
4.0 Political Theories/Systems
4.1 Political Rights/Freedoms
4.2 Political Activities, Boycotts
4.3 Government
4.4 Military
4.5 Legal Systems
4.6 Economics
4.7 Business
4.72 Sex Industry
4.8 Employment, Jobs, and Occupations
4.82 Discrimination, Harassment at work
4.9 Technology

5 – Education
5.1 General Education
5.2 Theory, Curriculum, Teaching Materials
5.3 Educational Institutions
5.4 Teachers
5.5 Students
5.6 Gay-Straight Alliances
5.7 Libraries and Librarianship
5.8 Children’s Literature

6 – Psychology and Health
6.0 General Psychology
6.1 Individual Development and Psychology
6.12 Self-esteem, Self-acceptance
6.13 Coming Out
6.15 Sex Roles and Gender
6.16 Developmental Disabilities
6.2 Interpersonal Relations/Communication
6.3 Family
6.31 Marriage
6.37 Adoption
6.4 Social Problems
6.44 Suicide
6.5 Therapies and Counseling
6.6 Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, Sex
6.63 Sexual Acts, How To Materials
6.7 General Medicine
6.74 AIDS
6.75 Surgery including FTM, MTF Surgery
6.78 Physical Disabilities 

7 – Nature, Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion
7.0 Nature and Sciences
7.1 Philosophy and Ethics
7.2 Spirituality, Paganism, Witchcraft
7.22 Paganism, Shamanism, Berdaches
7.25 Mythology
7.3 General Religion
7.4 Christianity
7.41 Metropolitan Community Church
7.5 Islam
7.6 Eastern Religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc)
7.7 Judaism
7.8 Other Religions

8 – Culture and Leisure
8.0 General Culture
8.1 Art, Sculpture, Architecture
8.2 Theaters, Movies, Television
8.3 Music
8.4 Dance
8.5 Lifestyle
8.51 Fashions and Modeling
8.6 Recreational leisure activities
8.61 Travel Writing
8.62 Scouting
8.7 Sports
8.71 Gay Games
8.8 Pets

9 – Literature and Fiction
9.0 Literary Criticism
9.1 Biographies of Authors
9.2 Poetry
9.3 Plays
9.4 Fiction including Young Adult
9.5 Short stories
9.6 Science Fiction and Fantasy
9.65 Horror
9.7 Mystery, Detective, Action-Adventure
9.75 Romance
9.8 Humor
9.85 Graphic Novels
9.9 Erotica

We also try to help you find the sexual/gender orientation demographic of our fiction titles by placing a L, G, B, T, I, or Q label on the spine directly above the call number label.

Our DVD collection is separated by feature films (spine labels say DVD), documentaries (spine labels say DVD DOC), and television series (spine labels say DVD TV), and are then in alphabetical order by title.

Hopefully this will demystify the collection and be a start to help you find what you’re looking for in the library, but you should never be afraid to ask for help. We hope to see you soon!