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Library Frequently Asked Questions

Books (Items) are organized by Call Number

How to find a Book using its Call Number

In the example below, the book's call number is listed after "Available at Lavery Library Upper Level."  The call number for the book is NC1766.U52 D533 2004

Example of finding the call number in Primo

Take the first two letters of the Call Number, NC  (note - sometimes there is only one letter).  Find the bookshelf that contains NC items by looking at the signs at the end of each shelf.  Below is a picture of the bookshelf that has items NC through NE.

book shelf with NC - NE Call Numbers

Now look for the NC letters on the books and the numbers 1766 which comes next in the call number.  Once you find the NC1766 section in the bookshelf, use the next set of letters and numbers to find your book: U52 D533 2004.  Once you find the section, you may be able to scan titles to locate your book faster then looking at the call numbers.

Walt Disney Books on the shelf

General Overview of Library of Congress Call Numbers.

Most materials at Lavery Library are organized using Library of Congress call numbers. When looking at the letters and numbers on the book spine, read one line at a time. (Note: the K-12 Resource Center sequences their books according to the Dewey Decimal System, because that is the system used at most elementary schools.)

For example:


Start with line 1

Books are arranged in alphabetical order, sorted by the letters on the first line of the call number.

For example, first come all the D call numbers, then all the DA call numbers, then DB, etc.

Call Number D

Look at line 2

Within the DA call numbers, books are arranged in number order.

The numbers are arranged in numerical order, from low to high.

Call Number Line 2

Now Look at Line 3

Line 3 of the call number has a letter and a number. Books are arranged in alphabetical order by the first part of the line.

Once you find the letter, read the number. Note these are decimals, not whole numbers.

Example: A55 is read as A .55. This is why A55 comes before A6 (A .55, A .6, A .65).

Note: Sometimes there will be another decimal combination, further differentiating books by their author, title, subject, or the year of publication. If there are multiple copies of the book, that may be indicated as well.

Call Number line 3

This page was adapted from content produced by the University of Arizona Library (08/12/2019).