Q. How can I locate a book by call number?

Call numbers are used to categorize books by subject, publication year, and other information, using the Library of Congress classification system; the beginning letters correspond to subjects within that system. A call number will also tell you where in the library you can find a book. It is made up of letters and numbers located on the spine of the book, for example, GV 869.2 .M34 2004.

  • The first line goes in alphabetical order, for example GR, GT, GU.
  • The second line is arranged in numerical order.
  • The third is arranged by decimal; for example .M34 comes before M4.
  • The last line is the year of publication. This is in chronological order. 

Swirbul Library has several floors where books are located. (An "S" in the floor name refers to the Stacks.) The letters and numbers in the call number will tell you which floor to go to. 

  • Floor 4S: A – E185.61 Z49 2002
  • Floor 3S: E189.B1.S2 1972 – HQ2044.U6.B56 2007
  • Floor 2: Folios, CMC and Juvenile
  • Floor 2S: HV40.K464 2006 – PN6790. N673.J3 2007 (except M1 – M3, Floor C)
  • Floor C: PR1.R32 – PS 261.C5552004 and Theses
  • Floor S: PQ2601.R2.Z47513 – ZA5055.U6.R63 1998

In our example of GV869.2.M34 2004, this book would be located in the Stacks on Floor 3S.  

If you need help locating a book in the stacks, please contact us or ask at the Service Point on the first floor. 

Examples of call numbers on a shelf.

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