Answered By: Bess Robinson
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2018     Views: 26

Every book in McWherter Library is assigned a call number, which are found on a book's spine. The call number acts like an address on the library's shelves. Books on the library's shelves are organized in order of these call numbers. McWherter Library uses the Library of Congress classification system (you might have heard of Dewey Decimal!), so similar subjects are shelved together.

The Library of Congress classification system divides subjects into 21 very broad categories:

The 3rd floor of McWherter Library holds A - K and the children's book collection (oversized books on the east end):

A - General Works
B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
C – History - Civilization
D - History – General (not U.S.)
E - U.S. History
F - U.S. Local History and Latin American History
G - Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
H - Social Sciences
J - Political Science
K - Law

The 4th floor of McWherter Library holds L - Z (oversized books on the east end):
L - Education
M - Music
N - Fine Arts
P - Language & Literature
Q - Science
R - Medicine
S - Agriculture
T - Technology
U - Military Science
V - Naval Science
Z - Information Science

If you're trying to find a book in QuickSearch, you'll see the book's location and call number:

A screenshot of a print book entry in the library's QuickSearch catalog.

This book is Available and located at McWherter Library - 4th Floor Stacks. Its call number is S473.K2 N344 1991. If you were to find this book in McWherter Library, you would go to the 4th floor and read the call number left to right. Since it begins with S, we know it's a book about agriculture. The ends of the book shelves have signs to help you navigate the first part of the call number. You would find the shelf with S473, look for S473.K42, narrow down to N344, then start skimming the book titles.

If you're researching this subject, you might want to check out the books around the book you found - there may be some great additional research material!

Hints about the shelves:

  • Call numbers beginning with a single letter come before call numbers with a second letter, e.g.: S before SA, then SB, SC, and so on until SZ.
  • Once you are in the correct letter area (in this example, S), the books are in number order. S473 comes after S 40 and before S 500.

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