Research

Finding Books on the Shelf

Search the Library Catalog

The first step in finding a book on the shelf is to search for a book in the library catalog.

In the catalog, you can search by title, author, subject or keyword. Once you’ve done a search you’ll often see a mix of print books, ebooks, articles and DVDs in the search result list.

To limit your search results to just print books, check the “Print Books” box on the left side of your screen.

Once you’ve found a book you want, make sure to write down the book’s availability and call number.

Book Collection Locations

Here at CUE Library we have book collections on the main floor, mezzanine and second floor. The book’s availability status in the library catalog that will indicate which collection your book belongs to.

  • Curriculum – Main Floor
  • Reference – Main Floor
  • Media & DVD – Main Floor
  • Writing – Main Floor
  • Info Desk – Main Floor
  • Fiction – Main Floor
  • Reserve – Main Floor
  • On Shelf  (Call Numbers that start with A-B) – Mezzanine
  • On Shelf (Call Numbers  that start with C-Z) – Second Floor
For example, if a book had an availability status of “On Shelf” and a call number PR 4034 P943 2005, it would be located on the second floor of the library.
  • If you’re unsure about where a collection is located please don’t hesitate to ask a library staff member for help.

Heading up into the Stacks

When you know which floor the book is on and you’ve written down the book’s call number, head over to that floor. Once you are up in the stacks, you’ll notice that at end of each bookshelf there are little plaques with call number ranges written on them (these are called range ends).

First, look for a the range end which corresponds with the first set of letters in your book’s call number.

  • If you were looking for a book with the call number PR 4034 P943 2005, you’d first look for the start of the PR range ends.

Then see if the number following those letters also fits within the call number range on the range end. Once you’ve found the aisle with the range end that your call number fits into, walk down the aisle and scan the call number labels on the books for the start of your book’s call number.

Scanning the Shelves

Scan the call number labels on the books line by line.  For example, if you were looking for PR 4034 P943 2005:

  1. Walk down the aisle looking for PR
  2. Then look for the start of 4034
  3. Then look for P and then 943
  4. Finally, look for 2005

Ask for Help

Finding books on the shelf, especially if you’ve never done it before, can often feel overwhelming. Please do not hesitate to ask any library staff to help you find materials: we can personally walk you through the process of reading call numbers to find items on the shelf.

For a more detailed example of finding books on the shelf, check out our printable guide: Finding Books On The Shelf