Shippensburg University uses the Library of Congress classification system. Most public libraries and K-12 school libraries use the Dewey Decimal system. These are different ways of organizing library materials, but they both oganize items by subject and use call numbers.

We will use the book *Hi, Anxiety* by Kat Kinsman as an example.

The library catalog provides this information about the book:

Let's check the 3 pieces of information you need to find the book:

**Location:***General Collection*means the book is located on the upper level of the library (where general collection items are stored).**Call No:**This is the*call number*. We'll cover this in depth below.**Status:***Available*means the book is on the shelf.

Let's use local geography as an analogy to talk about how to understand call numbers. The first letter, or letters, are like the *county* the book lives in. You would find the bookshelf (called a "range" of books) with the letters **RC** on the side.

The numbers you see next - **537** - are like the *city* the book lives in. Move down the range until you find the cluster of books with the letter-number combo **RC537**. Together, this letter number combo describes the subject of the book.

You then see a space with a period (.) that separates the next set of letters and numbers from the first. **K** is like the *street* the book lives on. This letter represents the author's last name. The numbers that follow - **5345** - are equivalent to the building number for the book's apartment complex. It's a code for that particular author.

Finally, we see one last number - **2016**. This is like the book's apartment number. It represents the date the book was published.

Tips:

- No two books have the same call number. Each call number is unique.
- Call numbers are usually found on a sticker placed on the spine of a book. Sometimes the sticker is placed on the front cover. In rare instances you will find the call number on a slip of cardstock inserted into the book's pages.
- Read call numbers from left to right.

The bookshelf below (courtesy of Vanderbilt University) explains how to read call numbers on a shelf.

- Read the first line of the call number in alphabetical order.
- Read the second line as a whole number.
- The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal. Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.
- The last line is the year the book was published. Read in chronological order.