How to Find Things in the Library

Finding things in the library can be very confusing. This page will help you figure out what all those numbers and letters mean!

Call Numbers
A Call Number is a group of numbers and/or letters that help you locate a book on the shelves. (It is like the book's address.)

The Call Number is on the bottom of the spine.

WARNING! Just because it is called a Call NUMBER, it doesn't mean it has to have a number! A Call Number can be made up of just letters!

In the Children's Department of the Abilene Public Library, the call numbers can look like any one of these...

J
ABBIE

J
ABB

J
155
ABB
E
ABBIE
E
ABB

If the call number does not look like any of these, check with the librarian. The item you want is probably in another department, but you still might be able to check it out.

J
ABBIE
J
ABB

These two are call numbers for longer fiction books. The "J" means "Juvenile" and the letters (called the cutter) are either the 1st three letters of the author's last name or the author's complete last name. (We are working on getting the author's last name on ALL the fiction books.)

The Juvenile Fiction books are on the shelves in alphabetical order by the Authors' last names. So if you are hunting for a chapter book written by Beverly Cleary, you would look for the call number J CLE or J CLEARY.

EXCEPTIONS! There are always exceptions. There are a few titles that are alphabetical by their titles or series. (Example: The American Girls series is under "J AMERICAN".) If you get confused, ask a library staff member. They will be glad to help you.

E
ABBIE
E
ABB

These two are call numbers for Picture Books. They are arranged like the Juvenile Fiction and are great books for younger kids.

J
155
ABB

This is the call number for an informational book. The number is called the Dewey Classification number. It tells you what the book is about. (More about that later.) The letters (or Cutter) are the 1st three letters of the author's last name.

The informational books are in order first by their Dewey Classification number, then by their author's last name.

DEWEY CLASSIFICATION

Melvil Dewey was a librarian who was born in 1851. He invented a way to catalog books into subject areas. It is called the Dewey Decimal System and is used in libraries all around the world.

The Dewey Decimal System uses 10 big categories to help you find books.

000 -- Generalities Books in this area include computer books and encyclopedias.

100 -- Philosophy and Psychology Books in this area include books on personal improvement and unexplained phenomena.

200 -- Religion and Mythology Look in this area for Bible Stories, religions around the world, and mythology from different cultures.

300 -- Social Sciences This area has material on families, economics, law, education, and true crime. It also has folk and fairy tales.

400 -- Languages The 400's include dictionaries, foreign languages, and sign language books.

500 -- Science Titles on math, astronomy, plants, and animals. Also on science experiments, biomes, weather, and dinosaurs.

600 -- Technology Visit this section for books on medicine, cars, gardening, pets, farm animals, space exploration, and cooking.

700 -- The Arts This section includes drawing books, craft ideas, music, games, TV and movies, and sports.

800 -- Literature Look here for poetry, plays, and Shakespeare.

900 -- History and Geography Look here for information on the world's geography and history. Also includes collective biographies.

92 -- Biographies Some libraries use "92" on their biographies. The cutter on the biographies is the last name of the subject of the book. For example: a biography on Abraham Lincoln would have the call number of J 92 LINCOLN.

Use the computer to find the call number. (If you don't know how to look things up on the computer, the librarian will show you how.)

Once you have found the call number for the book you want, you can locate the book. Remember -- If you have any problems, ask for help! The Librarian and the Library Assistants are there to help you.

For a fun lesson on the Dewey Decimal system, visit "Do we" Really Know Dewey?


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