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How Do I… Find Books on the Shelf?

Reading A Call Number

We organize our books using Library of Congress call numbers, which are arranged alphabetically, then by number.

For example, let’s look at this call number:

BF1407 .B39


Because books are arranged alphabetically, all of the B call numbers would come first, then all of the BA call numbers, then BB, etc. Our call number would be found after BE and before BG.


Within the BF call numbers, books are arranged in numerical order, from low to high. Our call number would be found after BF1406 and before BF1408

BF1407 .B39

The last part of our call number has a letter and a number. Read the letter alphabetically, then the number as a decimal. Since it is a decimal, .B39 would come before .B4 (.B38, .B39, .B4, .B41).

Finding Books in Holland & Terrell

If you only know the Call Number, but no other information, you can follow the directions below:

If your book is located in the Holland & Terrell Libraries, you are able to use a functionality called “Map It” within Search It, so you know which floor and stack number you can find your book on. Map It is a button at the top of a physical item after you click on it in Search It that will show you exactly where the item is located.

Item record in Search It showing "Map it!" button at bottom of top section for Human factors for technical communicators
When you are in Search It, and a physical item in Holland and Terrell Libraries has been clicked on, a blue “Map it!” button will be present under the description of the item.

A map of the floor the item is on will be shown, with the correct stack highlighted and labelled.

Map It example showing 3rd floor of holland with a stack highlighted

Finding Books in Other Libraries

In the Animal Health Library and Owen Library please find physical locations denoted by maps or ask a librarian at the circulation desk for help

If you have problems locating an item, we are happy to help!

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671
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