Q. What is a call number and how can I use it to find a book?


A call number is the combination of letters and numbers that indicates where an item can be found in the library. Most call numbers are located on the spine or front of a book.  The most commonly used call number system at Auburn Libraries is the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System.  Below is a quick explanation of how to read a Library of Congress call number. Remember, you can always ask for help in locating books at the reference desks of the main library (RBD) and the two branches (LADC and Vet Med).

Example Call Number:



1) Read the first letters alphabetically.  Single letters come before double letters, so: A, AA, AB, AC...( and so on until we get to..) H, HA, HB, HC, HD...

2) Find the section of the library that matches the first letters of your call number on a library map.  For our example call number, we'll find the HD section on the 3rd floor:  

3.) Once you use your map to find the section of the library where the HDs are located, you'll need to find the row of shelves that include the letters and first few numbers on your call number.  (In this case, HD 9397.)  Look at the side of the book shelves to find which books can be found on a particular row of shelves. In the picture below, you can see HD 9397 would fall between HD 9161 and HD 9471.

 4) Now that you've found the right row of books for your call number, you're ready to find the book on the shelf!  Find call numbers starting with HD 9397 on the shelf. Then look at the next letter that appears in your call number.  This will also be in alphabetical order. (So our example, HD 9397 U, will appear after HD 9397 A or HD 9397 G.) 

5.) After finding HD 9397 U, you'll look for the next number (which is a decimal).

6.  Continue reading the remaining letters and numbers in this way (alphametically then in numerical order) until you've located your book!    

7. To check your book out, take it to the circulation desk (on the 1st floor) or the information desk (on the 2nd floor) with your Tiger Card!


  • Last Updated Jun 06, 2018
  • Views 187
  • Answered By Bridget Farrell

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0   0