Using Call Numbers to Find Books

When you find a book in OneSearch, you will see a brief entry with the book’s status, call number, and library location.

Finding a Book on the Shelf

To find a book on the shelf, look for the following information in the book’s record in OneSearch or the Library Catalog:


  • The status tells you whether the book is available (NOT CHK’D OUT) or already checked out (DUE MM-DD-YY). There are also a few titles that cannot be checked out, which will show a status of LIB USE ONLY.

Call number

  • A call number is a combination of letters and numbers used to show a book's location in a library. It acts as its address on the shelf. Write down the call #.
  • Books in the Libraries are organized by the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system, which groups titles together on the shelf by subject area. See an outline of LCC.


The location tells you in which library the book is located. Go to that location in the library. Once you have reached that location, the books are organized in an alphabetical and numerical order.

If you were looking for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, this is how you would find the call number PS 3515 .E37 F3 1957:

  1. Start with the letters at the beginning:  PS
  2. After you find the PS section in the library, look for the number:  3515
  3. After you find that number, look for the letter and decimal number:  .E37
  4. Locate the next letter and decimal number (a decimal number though no decimal ):  F3
  5. The last number refers to the book’s publication date or copyright year:  1957
  6. Once you are in the section for PS 3515 .E37 F3 1957, look at the titles and find the book.

If you can’t find the book, look around at the titles in that area because it could be misshelved.