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FSEMs: Fall 2024

This First Year Seminar guide provides an overview of library spaces, services, and collections. It includes tutorials about evaluating information, searching for information, and other information literacy topics.

What is a Call Number?

The duPont-Ball Library uses Library of Congress call numbers to organize print books. Each book has a unique call number, which is a series of letters and numbers located on the spine of the book. This page is a tutorial on how to read call numbers and use them to find a book on the shelf in the library. If you have questions or are unable to find your book, ask for help at the front desk or contact us at or 386-747-9028.

Here's a video about how to do this:

Step 1. Use OneSearch to find the book you need

Use OneSearch to search for the book that you need. If the duPont-Ball Library has a print copy of the book, information about the book’s location and availability will appear underneath the title.

In the image below, the green check mark next to Available tells us that this book should be on the shelf and is available to be checked out. This book, and most other books, are located on the main library shelves on the top floor of the library. Next, you’ll see the call number, which tells us exactly which shelf the book is on. In this example, the call number is HD9696.8 .U64 F335 2010.

Step 2. Read the call number

Start by reading the call number from left to right. You'll need to find each letter or number in the order that it is listed. So first, find the section of books with call numbers that start with H, then find the shelves that contain HD, then determine which shelf has the HD9000s. A sign displaying the call number range on each shelf is located on the end of each shelf, as shown below:

Step 3. Locate your book on the shelf

Once you've located the shelf that should contain your book, browse the spines of the books until you see call numbers that are increasingly similar to yours. For this example, first you'd look for the HD9000s, then the HD9600s, then the HD 9690s, etc. until you see the book with your exact call number. Look at the image below. Do you see the book with the call number HD9696.8 .U64 F335 2010?

Step 4. Browse and/or check out your book

Hooray! You've found your book. Keep in mind that Library of Congress call numbers arrange books by subject, so once you find your book there may be others nearby on the shelf that could also be useful to you. If you'd like to check out your book, bring it to the front desk on the main floor along with your student ID. 

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email Call or text 386-747-9028.