An Overview of DDC: Search Nonfiction in Libraries with Confidence


July 30, 2023

Have you ever walked into a library for the first time and felt confused and overwhelmed? Maybe you wanted to search for one specific book or author, or maybe you wanted to find a title on how to accomplish a project. But everyone seems busy. You look around and give up in confusion.

It’s happened to me. But if you keep these things in mind, you can walk into any library and browse confidently.

Most public libraries in the US still use the Dewey Decimal Classification system to arrange their nonfiction books.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The fiction section is by itself. If you want to find a fiction book, locate that section and start looking through the titles. Most libraries have signs to show you where the fiction books are housed. Some libraries have separate sections for romance, thrillers, or sci-fi genres. If they do, these mini-sections should be near the other fiction books. Just look around or ask a librarian.
  2. Nonfiction books are not usually labeled. They have call numbers at the bottom of the spine that start with numbers. And these numbers tell you what the subject of the book is about. The video below describes the ten major sections of the DDC system.
  3. If you need help finding any specific title and don’t know where to look or how to search the catalog, ask a librarian to help you find it. If they have time, ask them to show you where and how to use the library’s catalog.

That should help you find whatever you want or need.

Libraries are full of books and information that are available to users for FREE. If you haven’t visited yours lately, watch the video below to get an idea of what you might find there.  Then pay them a visit!

For more information about nonfiction books and the reading life, visit my YouTube channel! I have book reviews, information on how to read, and how to use libraries. I also share my joy in great books. I’d love to see you there if you love books, too!

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