Call numbers

What is a call number?

A call number is a unique code given to each item in the library. It identifies the subject and location of each book, journal, video, map, etc. Mearns-McPherson library and the Law library arrange most items using the Library of Congress (LC) classification system, which uses call numbers that start with letters and also include numbers. You can use LC Classification to see what call numbers are used for your topic.

The Curriculum Collection uses the Dewey decimal system to classify items. Dewey call numbers start with numbers and often include letters.

McPherson book, using LC: PR6057 R37 I45
Curriculum book, using Dewey: 823 R6784H33125

For more information about call numbers, see the Locate Your Book – Reading Call Numbers video or consult Understanding call numbers.

Call number and locations

The call number and the location tell you where the material is -- on which shelf and in which location in the libraries. There are various locations -- McPherson library, Law library, Special collections, etc. There are specific floors in McPherson library where you will find call numbers:
  • A-GN600 - third mezzanine (3M) 
  • GN700-PR - third floor (3)
  • ML-MT - second floor (2) 
  • PS-V - second floor (2)
  • M - main floor (M)
  • Maps - main floor (M)
  • Reference - main floor (M)
  • Z - lower level

Find a book on the shelf

Go to the indicated location then look for the call number. It will be one line in the catalogue but broken into at least two parts on the book, found on the book's spine. Hunt it down one part at a time.