Waidner-Spahr Library

Part 1: Where is my book in Waidner-Spahr Library?

To locate a book in Waidner-Spahr Library, you need to know the book's call number and location.

Call numbers and locations are displayed in the Library Catalog and JumpStart.

Most books in the Library have the location "Book Stacks, main and upper level," which means they are on the shelves in the Library ("stacks" is another word for "shelves").

The Library Map shows where books with a given call number are shelved.

Look at the letters at the beginning of the call number, and locate the associated range of letters on the map.

call numbers listed after authors in library catalog records; location is given after availability

For the book Nixonland, the call number is:

E855 .P47 2008

The Library Map shows us that this book is on the Main Level of the Library in the "DS-F" section.

Library maps are posted throughout Waidner-Spahr, and are also available at the Circulation Desk or can be viewed from the Library's website.

Signs at the ends of the shelves show the range of call numbers in each row.

Call Numbers are assigned by a book's subject area. So once you find your book, the books around it will usually deal with similar topics, and might be useful for your research.

Other Book Locations in the Library

When you're looking at the catalog results for a book, you should take notice of the location listed for the book. Two common locations that are not the regular Stacks/Shelves are:

  • Oversized -- these books are larger in size and are separated from the regular shelves. These can be found on the upper level by the East Asian Studies Room.
  • Reference -- these books cannot be checked out from the library. They live on a set of shelves on the main level behind the Biblio Cafe.

If you encounter another location in the catalog, or can't find a book for any other reason, ask the staff at the Circulation Desk or Ask a Librarian for help.

What if my book isn't on the shelf?

First, you should double-check the catalog to make sure the book isn't checked out. If it is checked out, you may be able to borrow a copy from another library (see the EZBorrow page of the Library Website).

If the book isn't checked out, you should go to the Circulation Desk so they can help you.

My book is checked out! What do I do?

You can usually borrow your book from another library, but this will take a number of days. If you need a book right away that deals with your topic, you should ask a librarian to help you find other resources for your research.

Part 2: How are books put in order on a shelf?

Once you've found the location of the shelves where your book is stored, you'll have to find the right shelf, and the book amid all the other books on the shelf.

A book's call number serves as an address for its location in the library. Understanding how the system works is like understanding North, South, East, and West.

LCC is an alpha-numeric system, but it can get a little tricky, so let's take it line by line.

A call number generally has four or five lines (when displayed on the side of a book).

The first line consists of letters, which go in alphabetical order

E
197
.N38
2009
GF
4
.E53
2001 v.1
GN
2
.F5
1959
GT
2075
.S25
2008
GV
11
.M4
1944

Why is this the correct order?

The second line consists of numbers, and should be treated as whole numbers (18 comes before 125, etc.).

ML
18
.S9
1994
 
ML
21
.M89483
 
 
ML
27
.U5
G474
2010
ML
28
.B196
L37
2012
ML
32
.G7
N54
2010

Why is this the correct order?

The third line consists of a single letter and numbers.

Look at alphabetical order first, and then read the numbers as decimals (not whole numbers). So, for example, on the third line ".G53" would come before ".G6" because the decimal number 0.53 is smaller than 0.6.

RS
403
.C66
1984
RS
403
.F69
1981
RS
403
.F722
1997
RS
403
.F8
1955
RS
403
.F82
2010

Why is this the correct order?

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Practice arranging books

These books are out of order. Click on the one book you could move to put the shelf back in order.

D
369
.S73
 
DS
371.2
.A338
1987
DS
371.2
.K35
1995
DS
357.5
.W35
1985
DS
371.3
.F86
1998

These books are not in order. Which of them should come first on the shelf?

QH
102
.N53
2009
QH
102
.K75
1988
QH
102
.O24
1995
QH
102
.S36
1999
QH
102
.R58
2005

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Part 3: Call numbers: What are they? How do they work?

Most of the books in Waidner-Spahr Library are arranged by a system known as the Library of Congress Classification, or LCC (though there are some exceptions).

The LCC determines the "call number" that serves as the identity and address of each particular book.

Call Numbers are made up of a combination of letters and numbers, which, put together indicate the predominant content of the book, as well as other publication information.

LCC is divided into 21 subject areas. (You can see them all listed on the Library of Congress Website). Each subject area has its own letter, and is then subdivided into specialty areas, indicated by the first set of numbers.

Let's look at some examples...

Book title: A Decade of Dark Humor: How Comedy, Irony, and Satire Shaped Post-9/11 America

The call number of this book would be displayed on the spine like this:

Call Number Element Meaning
E History of the Americas.
902 The United States, 21st Century, George W. Bush's Administration, 2001-2009.
.D423 This line varies depending on the kind of book. In this case, this code refers to the Word, "decade," from the title.
2011 The year of publication.

So the "E" section is subdivided by numbers only.

  • From E11-E143 you will find general information on "America" as well as information prior to the establishment of the colonies that will lead to the United States.
  • From E151-E909 you will find information presented chronologically detailing the United States.

Another example:

Book title: Underlying Foundations of Science Used in the Regulation of Industrial Chemicals

The call number of this book would be displayed on the spine like this:

Call Number Element Meaning
QD "Q" is the category for science, and this call number subdivides into "QD" to indicate Chemistry.
7 The numbers under "QD" subdivide into different types of chemistry. This number indicates general chemistry information.
.P53 This code refers to the author's last name, Plamondon.
2009 The year of publication.

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