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The 300s will always have a special place in my heart, because for a while, I was in charge of purchasing most of the books in this part of the collection. I loved being a selector, and the 300s were such a fun and diverse area, with topics ranging from politics to folklore. Let’s explore this area of our collection together today!

300 (Social Sciences)

By this point in our Dewey Decimal Adventure, I imagine you’re starting to see a trend. Just as the 000s were general knowledge, 100 was general philosophy, and 200 was general religion, so too is 300 the general social sciences. Here are your books that cover multiple topics within the field, as well as your “Intro to Sociology” and “Sociology 101” type titles. If you’re looking to learn in a very general sense or just don’t know where to start, this might be the place for you. Sociology, anthropology, various social groups (such as women, the elderly, the homeless, etc.), and communities can be found in the 300s.

310 (General Statistics)

This is exactly what it sounds like. 310-319 is the section for readers looking for statistical data.

320 (Political Science)

This was one of the toughest classes for me to purchase for. Because sometimes, there is nothing quite as heated as a discussion about politics, and I wanted to make sure that all voices were being heard. This part of the library’s collection will contain everything from political systems (federations, empires, utopias, and even revolution), to how the state interacts with religious, labor, and business groups. Civil rights, colonization, international relations, and the legislative process are all covered here, as well.

330 (Economics)

If you’re interested in the economy, then you need to check out classification 330. The books in this class cover everything from labor and unions to finance, ownership, Socialism (as an economic system–as opposed to a political ideology, which would be in 320), finance, taxes, business, agriculture, and poverty.

340 (Law)

I had mentioned that I purchased most of the 300s. 330-349 were the only sections that I wasn’t responsible for. We just read about economics, but 340 concerns law. In addition to the obvious (legal systems, laws, etc.) this class also covers topics like war (including how war is conducted, the treatment of prisoners, neutrality, and war crimes). From there, the law focus continues with topics such as labor law, criminal court, domestic relations, wills and inheritance, court procedures, and even specific legal cases.

350 (Public Administration and Military Science)

I usually just refer to this section as “military history”. Starting with a few classes dedicated to public administration (350-354.9), we then move into Military Science. While 340 talked about laws of war, 355 and onward focuses more on the causes, the aftermath, and even military relations. Military life, resources, operations, administration, training, and supplies can all be found here.

360 (Social Problems and Services)

If you want to learn more about the various services that are offered by the government and other non-government entities to help with a variety of situations, you might want to check out Social Problems and Services. This would include aid for the displaced, the homeless, those with disabilities, the poor, the unemployed, and the retired. Substance abuse, including alcoholism, is also classed in 360, as well as books on adoption and foster care. In addition to books on aid, there are also resources on public safety, such as hazardous materials and occupational hazards. 364 is the home of the criminology books, including the increasingly popular True Crime titles. All your most gruesome topics can be found here, from drug abuse to assault, and stalking to murder. 365 continues the trend with books on the penal system. 366 is Secret Societies, while 367 is general clubs. And we round out the 360s with insurance and associations, at 368 and 369, respectively.

370 (Education)

We’ve shifted our shelving a couple of times since I’ve started working here, but for a long time, I always knew exactly where to go to find the 370s. That’s because every year, we have a large demand for test-prep books for the SATs, ACTs, GRE, and more. While 370 covers all levels of education, from primary school all the way through college, the test prep books were always the ones that got the most attention. So, whether you want to learn about curriculum or how the educational system is structured, you’ll find all of it here in 370.

380 (Commerce, Communications, and Transportation)

This is another varied classification. 380 includes books on trade (both international and domestic); communication through methods such as TV, radio, and internet; and an extensive focus on transportation (railways, cars, highways, pipelines), and even systems of measurement! And even though they are stationary, lighthouses are also included in this class. Think of it because they help to guide ships safely to port, and are therefore an integral part of maritime transportation!

390 (Customs, Etiquette, and Folklore)

This is easily my favorite part of the 300s. I’ve been a huge fan of folk and fairy tales, ever since I was a child. But, while folklore is certainly a large part of the 390s, there is quite a bit more included here. From costume and personal appearance (which includes fashion), to customs (including weddings and funerals); this incredibly diverse classification also includes information on holidays, etiquette and manners, war and diplomacy, jokes, riddles, proverbs, rhyming games, and of course, folklore.


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.