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Finding Books in Memorial Library

After reviewing this information, you will be able to:

  • Use the collection name to find the correct set of book shelves in the library
  • Use the call number to find a book on a library shelf
  • Recall how to checkout a book from the library

You have options! Click your choice below to continue...

Finding Books in Memorial Library

Locating Books at Memorial Library

Use the directions below to find and checkout books in Memorial Library.

When you find your book online, you will have all the information you need to find the book. Just take note of the collection and the call number. The collection is the group of books your book lives with, and the call number is the exact location (think of it like an address) of the book on the shelf.

right next to the books availability it will give the call number and the collection the book is located in.

To find the book in the library, you'll need this information on hand. Either write this call number and collection down, text it to yourself, print the book's information, or use the email option to email yourself the book's information.

click the envelope icon to email the details of a book to yourself

Then, bring this information into Memorial Library to find your book!

Books in the library are divided into collections. Each collection has a specific location. Use the table below to locate which floor your book is on.

Collection Location
Audiobooks lower level--east
Bestsellers 1st floor - under atrium
DVD lower level--east
General Collection  

Call number starting with A-E

2nd floor--west

Call number starting with F-PN

2nd floor--east

Call number starting with Q-Z

3rd floor

General Collection--Oversize

2nd floor--east
Government Documents 1st floor
Juvenile Fiction, Nonfiction lower level--east
Lass Center for Minnesota Studies 2nd floor--center
Maps & Atlas 1st floor--east
New Books 1st floor - under atrium
Periodicals 1st floor--east
Reference 1st floor--west
What's a Call Number?

Libraries use a classification system of letters and/or numbers ( also known as the call numbers) to arrange the books  on the shelf. The call numbers make sure that books on the same topic are shelved together. This means that when you  go find your book on the shelf, there's probably a bunch of books near it on the same topic. We call this "serendipitous browsing:" Libraries in the United States generally use the Library of Congress Classification System or the Dewey Decimal Classification System to organize their books. Most academic libraries, like us here at MSU, use the Library of Congress Classification System (LC)

the call number on the spine of the book will be the same call number as listed in the online catalog

the top two lines will have two letters and a series of numbers. the third line is should start with a period followed by a letter and numbers. The last line will be the date of publication

How to Read a Call Number

Book title: Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam
Author: Daniel C. Hallin
Call Number: DS559.46 .H35 1986

 Lines 1 & 2: The first two lines describe the subject of the book.
 In this case, DS 559.45 = Vietnamese Conflict

Line 3: The third line usually represents the author's last name. In this case
H = Hallin

Last line: The last line represents the date of publication. Older items may not include the year

this image shows an example call number. It reads LB 2395 on the first two lines. The third line is period C 65. the last line says 1991.

Tips for Finding Books on the Shelf

Read call numbers line by line.

  1. Check the letters in the first line. In this case: LB. These will be on the shelf in alphabetical order: A, B, BA, BC, BF, BS, C, D, DA, DD... 
  2.  After that, read the numbers following the letters: 2395. These will be in numeric order. Read it as a whole number: 1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 102, 1000, 2000, 2430...
  3. The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. In this case .C65. Start with the letter; these are alphabetical just like the first line. After that, the number from smallest to largest. However, read this number as a decimal number (imagine a bunch of zeros at the end). So, in order, call numbers would line up like this: C659, C66, C674, C68....
    (Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.)
  4.  The last line is the year the book was published. In this case, 1991.  Some older items do not include the year. Read in chronological order: 1985, 1991, 1992...

Here's a shelf of books with the call numbers and their order explained.
this shows a series of call numbers in order. the second line should be ascending so 2327 would come before 2328. The third number is read like a whole number so period C 3 4 comes before period C 5 5 and period C 5 5 comes before period C 5 5 4. however Period C 6 3 would come after these.

Content for this box provided by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The original content can be found through the Online Library Learning Center.

Once you find your book, take it to the Circulation Desk on the first floor. Your MavCard is your library card! Take the books and your MavCard to the circulation desk by the entrance.

The following table lists how long you can check out items.

Circulation Desk

Library Item Loan Period Can it be renewed?
Books (General Collection) end of the semester (current students) Yes (use My Library Account  to renew)
Audiobooks end of the semester (current students) Yes
Digital Cameras 7 days No
DVDs 14 days No
Laptop Computers 7 days No

If you have any trouble concerning books or finding books, please talk to a librarian. 

Ask a Librarian

Next Step: Getting Books from Other Libraries

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