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Video tutorials for library research strategies and resources.

Finding Items in the Library with Call Numbers

Download a PDF with all the steps for finding an item in the library

Items in the Tyree Library are organized by call number, which is an address for a book. Call numbers help you find a specific book, as well as others on that same subject.

Most academic libraries, including the Tyree Library, use the Library of Congress Classification System. This means that call numbers begin with letters. In this image, the call numbers begin with DC. You can see them on the stickers on the sides of the books.

A row of books with the spine labels highlighted; all call numbers begin with DC

To find a specific book or media item, use the library catalog to look up a title, author or subject. Write down the call number of the item. The call number shown below is TJ810.5 .N49 2015.

Library catalog record for a book with the call number highlighted (TJ810.5 .N49 2015)

Be sure to also click the Locate button to determine which floor the item is on. Most books, like this one, are in the Circulating Collection on the third floor.

Library catalog record for a book with the Locate button highlighted

With the call number in hand, head to the appropriate floor and collection. First, use the initial letters of the call number and then move to each subsequent area.

Look at the shelf guides at the end of the rows to see which call numbers are in each aisle. For instance, this shelf on the third floor includes all call numbers between TH 4817 and TL 453. That includes letters within this range, such as TJ and TK.

Shelf guide at the end of a bookshelf: TH 4817 - TL 453

Call numbers are organized first by the initial letters, then the numbers, and then the next letters. Letters are ordered alphabetically. Numbers are ordered from smallest to largest.

Books with TL call numbers on a shelf

Here is the book we are looking for, Solar Energy: A Reference Handbook.

Be sure to look on the shelves around your book or media item! The Library of Congress classification system groups subjects together, so you might find related materials that are of interest.

Solar Energy book

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