How do I locate a book in the library? How do I find a book by call number?


When you are searching for materials in OneSearch on the library homepage, books located within the library will display location information, call number, and availability.

The location will tell you the floor and collection within the library where your book can be found. Find the shelf that contains your call number, locate your book, and bring it to the Circulation Desk on the first floor to check it out. If you can't find your book, just stop by the Research Help Desk for assistance!

Library of Congress Classification

The Library uses the Library of Congress Classification system to shelve most books and periodicals. The classification system is designed to group library materials of similar subject concentration together and is used by many universities and colleges. It is different from the Dewey Decimal classification system that is used by most public libraries. If you are interested in how the two classification systems compare, see this Wikipedia article.

The Library of Congress call number system is an alpha-numeric system. To read the call number, simply note the first letter or letters of the call number. "LA" would be shelved before "LB", "LC" before "LD", etc. Numbers follow the initial letter or letters. These numbers are read as whole numbers. A call number of "LA2" will be shelved before "LA4".

Here is an example of how to read call numbers line by line:

(image courtest of the Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame)

Over/undersized books

Some call numbers will start with a small "f" (for folio), "ff," "fff," or "u". These are over- or undersized items that are located in a separate section of the Lower Level. Ask at the Research Help Desk on the first floor for help finding them.

  • Last Updated Sep 21, 2023
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