Call Numbers

How to find the one book you need among the thousands of books on the library shelves?

Each book has been given a call number. Think of it as a street address. Instead of taking you to a specific building on a particular street, the call number allows you to go to the correct shelf to locate your book.

You’ve searched for the book Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science in the library catalogue. The call number is found in the Holdings section found at the bottom of the screen.

The call number is BJ1481/B65/2011. Note that it is written on one line.  On the book the call number is located either on the spine or on the front cover and is broken down into 4 lines.

Finding the book on the shelf

Read the call number line by line, from top to bottom.

  • Start with the letters and look for the BJ section of the library. The letters are in alphabetical order.

  • Once you’ve found the BJs read the 2nd line as a whole number (e.g., 1395 = one thousand, three hundred and ninety-five; 1401 = one thousand, four hundred and one)

  • Now look for the letter B found in the 3rd line. The letters are in alphabetical order on the shelves.

  • The numbers after the B are read as a decimal (.65).

  • There may be a 4th line of letters and numbers: read it the same way as the 3rd line.
  • The publication date may be the last line of the call number.