Skip to Main Content

Understanding Library of Congress Call Numbers

This guide explains how to read Library of Congress call numbers to locate books in the stacks.

On this page

Useful Links

Finding a book on the shelf

Let's assume you searched for books on Shakesepare's sonnets in our online catalog and found this title:

 Shakespeare's sonnets / with a new commentary by David West

In order to find this book in the library you must know the call number and on which floor of the library it is shelved.

The call number for this book is PR2848.A2 W47. This book can be checked out as it doesn't have "Ref" before the call number. "PR" represents the subject area, British Literature. "2848" represents Shakespeare's sonnets and .A2 after 2848 indicates that it is a collection of sonnets. "W4" represents the author's name (West). 2007 is the year of publication

The floorplans reveal that  the PR section is shelved on the third floor of the library. Check out the video below to see how you can find this book on the shelf.




Finding Periodicals

Most of our journals, magazines, and newspapers, all known as Periodicals, are now online. Some are still in print format, and some are on microform. Use the journal finder to search for a periodical, to see if we have it, what format it's in, and what years we have. The  physical formats, print Bound Journals, print Current Issues, and Microforms (microfilm=reels, microfiche=sheets) are all held on the Lower Level of the Library.