RLSP 209: Spanish for Heritage Speakers: Locate materials in the library

Step 1: Locate the call number in the record

After performing a search, look for a resource in the results that lists the item as "Available at [library] ([call number]). This information will be located below the title, author, and year of publication of the item - see screenshot below for reference.

A screenshot of a record for a book in the library catalog. At the bottom of the image the call number is circled in green.

You can also click the title of the item to go to the item's full record; this is the screen where you can request scans of the item among other important tasks and information. The call number is located in multiple places on within the full record, circled in green on the screenshot below.


Step 2: Determine which library holds the item

You can find which library location the item is located by consulting the information that precedes the call number. The item above is located in Sawyer, but other physical library locations include:

  • Schow Science Library
  • LSF (Library Storage Facility)
  • Archives
  • Chapin Library

There are also areas within these locations. This information will be shared directly after the library (ie - Schow Reference or Sawyer Current Journals) and indicates that a particular resource is shelved in a section of the library outside of the shelves that house the majority of the circulating collection. Resources in these specific areas are often subject to different borrowing guidelines.

Step 3: Determine which area of the library has the call number you need.

Schow Library houses books with call numbers that start with B, Q, and T. Since Schow is one level, all books are shelved on the same floor, but in different areas. See the map below which indicates where each call number range is located in Schow


Sawyer library has books on 4 of its 5 floors. See the table below to figure out which call number ranges are shelved on each level.

Call Number Floor
A-D Level 4
E-H Level 3
J-PF Level 2
PG-Z Level 1
DVDs, CDs Level 3

Note: This table is for the location of items in Sawyer stacks. There are other library locations (such as Sawyer DVD, Sawyer Reserve, and Sawyer Reference) that also use this call number system. See library maps for further information.

Step 4: Locate the book on the shelf

Unlike public and school libraries, most academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification scheme to arrange books on the shelves.

Sawyer call numbers

Read call numbers line by line:

  • First line: arranged alphabetically
  • Second line: read as a whole number
  • Third and fourth lines: arranged alphabetically, then numerically, with the number treated as a decimal (e.g., .A627 comes before .A65)
  • Last line: shelved chronologically.

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Christine Ménard
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Sawyer Library