What Are the Different Sections of the Library?

Most public libraries and grade school libraries use the Dewey Decimal System to label and classify books by subject area as of 2015. College and university libraries employ the Library of Congress Classification system.

The Dewey system denotes 10 broad classifications of subjects by number classes. They are: encyclopedias, journals, news (000), philosophy, psychology (100), religion, churches (200), social sciences, law, etiquette (300) and foreign languages (400). Furthermore, there are sections for math and science (500), applied sciences, medicine (600), architecture, art, photography (700), literature (800), history and geography (900).

The Library of Congress classification system uses a similar broad classification of letters and numbers. Both systems provide physical locations for each book in a collection. Unlike digital collections, which can be catalogued in multiple locations by keywords, a book can only occupy one physical space.

Additionally, libraries contain physical spaces that have designated purposes, such as a circulation desk, computer research stations, DVD/digital collections, reading areas, and presentation and meeting rooms. Many libraries today are considering the Learning Commons approach to library design, in which the library becomes a community hub for learning resources that includes collaboration space. As library collections become digitized, more attention is given to providing access through e-readers and online catalogs.