Locating a Book in the Library

Locating a Book in the Library

When you have found a book that you want in the library catalog, follow these steps to locate it on the shelf:

1. Check the availability

From the search results page, click on the Availability link to see the location, call number, and whether or not the book is currently checked out.

Book results - Availability

If you click on the title of a book in the search results, it will take you to a more detailed page about the book. You can find the location, call number, and availability of the book on this page as well, under the “Find a copy in the library” heading.

Item Record

2. Write down the location and call number

3. Find the location

Hurst Library locations are as follows:

  • Top Floor: Audio, Children’s, Curriculum, General, Perkins, Video, Young Adult (YA)
  • Main Floor: New and Featured, Periodicals, Reference, Reserves
  • Request at Front Desk: All Storage Locations, Archives, Office, Oversize, Pentecostal

Books with “Salem Campus Library” in the location will need to be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Salem Campus

4. Look at the signs on the bookshelves

The bookshelves in the library have signs that show the range of call numbers located in that particular row. For example, if your call number is BS 1245.53 .M49 2005, and you see a sign that says “BS 649 – BS 1415,” that is the row you should look for your book in.

5. Find the call number on the shelf

Hurst Library is currently switching from the Dewey Decimal call number system to the Library of Congress (LC) call number system. During this transition time, you will see both kinds of call numbers.

If a call number starts with numbers, it is Dewey Decimal.

Call Number - Dewey

  • Read the number before the decimal point as a whole number, and the numbers after the decimal point as decimals. For example:
    • 808.82 comes before
    • 808.9
  • The second half of a Dewey Decimal call number starts with a letter. Read the letter alphabetically, and any numbers after it as decimals. For example:
    • 808.82 C736 comes before
    • 808.82 C8
  • Most call numbers end with the year that the book was published. Read the year chronologically. For example:
    • 808.82 C736, 2001 comes before
    • 808.82 C736, 2005

If a call number starts with letters, it is Library of Congress (LC).

Call Number - LC

  • Read the letters alphabetically. For example:
    • B comes before
    • BS
  • Read the numbers after the letters in straight numerical order. For example:
    • BS 1245.53 comes before
    • BS 1245.6
  • The second half of an LC call number starts with a letter. Read the letter alphabetically, and any numbers after it as decimals. For example:
    • BS 1245.53 .M49 comes before
    • BS 1245.53 .M5
  • Most call numbers end with the year that the book was published. Read the year chronologically. For example:
    • BS 1245.53 .M49 2005 comes before
    • BS 1245.53 .M49 2010

If you have any trouble locating a book, please ask us for help!