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Locating Books by Call Number: Home

Locating Books by Library of Congress Call Number

To locate a book in the Alkek Library, make note of the:

  • Location, Floor
  • Call Number (the book's address on the shelf)
  • Status (whether the book is Available or if someone else has it checked out)


Reading a call number

Reading a call number

Books are arranged on the shelves by their Library of Congress call numbers.  You can think of this number as an address for the book. 

Break it down and read it one line at a time as follows:

DA Line 1
 36  Line 2
 .A55 Line 3

1.  First, look at Line 1:

Call numbers are arranged first in alphabetical order.
Example: All books with call numbers that start with DA will be between D and DB.

2.  Next, look at Line 2:

Within the DA call numbers, books are arranged in number order.
Example: DA 36 will be between DA 35 and DA 37.

3.  Then look at Line 3:
             Line 3 of the call number has a letter and a number. The letters are in alphabetical order.
             Read the numbers as DECIMAL numbers, not whole numbers, so .A55 is read as A.55.
             Example: DA 36.A55 is between DA 36.A5 and DA 36.A6

What is a call number?

What's a Call number?

Call numbers are a code to identify each unique book by its subject matter. Because books are arranged by the call number, it also acts as a shelf address. You will find the call number attached to or written on the spine of each book.

The Alkek Library uses Library of Congress call numbers that uses letters and numbers to arrange books by subject. Books on similar subjects are assigned similar letters, based on the Library of Congress call number system.

A: General Works M: Music and Books on Music
B: Philosophy. Psychology. Religion. N: Fine Arts
C: Auxiliary Sciences of History P: Language and Literature
D: History: General & Old World Q: Science
E: History: America R: Medicine
F: History: America S: Agriculture
G: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation      T: Technology
H: Social Sciences U: Military Science
J: Political Science V: Naval Science
K: Law Z: History of Books. Library Science. Bibliography.
L: Education

Different book locations

Different Locations refer to different collections within the library. 

  • General Collection
  • Oversize Material
  • Reference Collection
  • Research & Information Desk
  • Popular Reading
  • New Books
  • Juvenile Collection
  • Reserve
  • RRC

Consult a call number map to find them.

Interlibrary Loan

NOTE: Please see the Remote Services LibGuide for updates to ILL services during Spring 2020.