What is a call number?

A call  number is found on the spine of a book. You can also find the call number of a book in the online catalog. Call numbers are unique. To find a book, you need to match the call number in the online catalog with the call number you find on the spine of book.

It is important that you jot down the COMPLETE call number if you want to find that exact book.

Here at the Macdonald-Kelce Library we use the Library of Congress Classification System. You don’t need to remember that, just remember the call numbers begin with a letter  or letters and then numbers, you read the call number alphabetically then numerically. If the online catalog lists the location as MAIN then that means the book is a book found on the 2nd floor and you may check it out at the circulation desk on the first floor once you find the title/s (FYI: your Spartan Card IS your library card).

At the end of each shelving unit you can find signs that tell you what part of the alphabet you can find in that section. The As begin on the north side of the building with the Zs on the south side (by the windows).

As you get to know the collection and your field/s of interest, you will also begin to know what parts of the collection are good for browsing when it comes time to figure out what to research and write about. Sometimes acquiring one call number for one book can mean finding five or ten books that will work for your project/paper. It is always a good idea to look to the left, right, below, and above of the book that you first discovered via the online catalog.

Librarians at the reference desk can always help you navigate the online catalog and find books that will support your research endeavors.

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