Rules for Classing / Listing Books in a Library

Library Classification Rules

Forty year ago L. Stanley Jast asserted that “it is one thing to have a satisfactory classification and author to have a satisfactory classifier.” Although satisfactory classifiers are now available, the implications of the assertion remain. It is quite safe to say that few persons can classify in a practical manner who have not studied how to do it in relation to the actual working of a library. If classification were a recognized science with laws as immutable as the accepted laws of Nature, it would be a relatively simple tasks to set our practices and even codes for practical classing. it is not; it is an art in which, in hundreds of cases in a year, an exercise of personal judgment is required. All rules are conditioned by that fact. The most important rules is hardly at all.
Some of the common rules that’s are followed in Library Classification are as:

  1. Place a book where it will be most useful.
  2. Class by subject, then by form, except in pure literature, where form is paramount.
  3. Place a book at the most specific head that contain it.
  4. When a book deals with not more than three divisions of a subject, place it in the one that is most prominently dealt with, or if the treatment is of equal importance in the one dealt with first. When the book deals with more divisions of the subject than three, place it at the general heading which covers them all.
  5. When two headings clash, make a decision as to which is to prevail.
  6. When a book appears on a subject which has no stated place in the classification scheme, determine the heading to which it is most nearly related, and make a place for it there.
  7. Avoid placing which are the nature of criticism.
To these seven essential rules may be added one or two working principles, which are hardly rules, but which deserved attention:
  • Consider the predominant tendency or purpose of a book.
  • Where one subject affects another, or an another influences other, place under the subject or another influenced.
  • Books pro and con any subject go together at the subject.
  • Always have a reason for your placing of a book.
  • Index all decisions.


Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *