This is the "How to Find Books" page of the "How to Find Books on the Shelves" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

How to Find Books on the Shelves  

Materials in Penrose are organized according to the Library of Congress classification system. Finding what you need can be tricky, but this guide is here to help you learn to navigate the shelves.
Last Updated: Aug 26, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
How to Find Books Print Page

What are Library of Congress Call Numbers?

Penrose Library organizes books using Library of Congress call numbers. Similar to the  Dewey Decimal classification, Library of Congress call numbers act as a book's address on the shelf. Call numbers are made up of a combination of letters and numbers that represent specific subjects. Library of Congress uses the letters of the alphabet to represent broad subject categories and subdivisions. For example, J represents Political Science and R represents Medicine.

When you find a book you're interested in the catalog, you'll see a location and call number listed. Using Whistling Vivaldi : How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele as an example, the catalog lists the call number as HM1096.S744 2011.  Additionally it indicates the book is shelved on the 3rd Floor and is available for check out.

To understand the call number for this book, here's how to break it down:

H represents the broad subject of Social Sciences. Books are shelved first by this section of the call number, in alphabetical order. 

HM gathers books on general sociology.

1096 represents a further refinement of the subject.  In this case it stands for social perception, including prejudices and stereotyes and is treated as a whole number.  For example, 1095.6 comes after 1095.18 but before 1096.

 .S744, the final element, usually represents the author's name.  This section should be read alphabetically, then as a decimal number (not a whole number.) For example, .S744 will come after .S4 and before .S946.

2011 is the year the book was published.  Dates do not always appear as part of a call number.

On the Penrose Library shelves, Whistling Vivaldi is surrounded by these call numbers:

HM1096.S736 2010

HM1096.S7398 2012

HM1096.S74 2002

HM1096.S744 2011

HM1101.B429713 2009

To help you find where a book is located, call number ranges appear on the end panel of each row of shelves. HM1096.S744 2011 will be in the range of shelving that is labeled HM554.F53 2012 - HN15.R43.

The catalog provides the ability to text message the call number to a personal cell phone.  Standard text-messaging fees may apply.


Locations of Library Materials

Allen Room - 2nd Floor

Archives/Special Collections - 1st Floor

Atlases - 1st and 2nd Floor

Audio books - (accessible online)

Documents - 1st and 2nd Floor

eBooks - (accessible online)

General Collection - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Floor

Juvenile - 1st Floor

Microforms - in Archives/Special Collections - 1st floor

Northwest Collection - 1st Floor

Oversize/Folio - 1st Floor

Reference - 2nd Floor

Reserves - Circulation desk

Serials - 1st Floor (some accessible online)

Video - 2nd and 3rd Floor

      © 2009 Whitman College Penrose Library | Contact Us


      Loading  Loading...