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Call Numbers Objective: Students will understand how call numbers are used to locate books and other materials in the library.

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Organization Libraries use different systems to organize books. Most school libraries use the Dewey Decimal System.

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Dewey Decimal System In the Dewey Decimal System, books are labeled with letters and numbers so that you can find them on the shelves. These are known as call numbers.

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Call Numbers: Fiction Call numbers for novels and stories start with an “F” or “FIC” showing that they are fiction. Then come the first few letters of the author’s last name, like “ROW” for J.K. Rowling.

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Call Numbers: Fiction Once you’ve found the right author, look at the book titles to find the exact one you’re looking for. Books by the same author should be listed alphabetically by title (unless they are part of a series).

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Call Numbers: Non-Fiction Call numbers for non-fiction books start with numbers instead of letters. Most call numbers will start with 3 numbers followed by a period and possibly one or more numbers. For example: 391.6

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Call Numbers: Non-Fiction Then, like fiction books, the call number will have the first few letters of the author’s last name: CUR

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Call Numbers: Non-Fiction Call numbers for biographies start with 92 and are organized alphabetically by the person the book is about.

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Call Numbers: Non-Fiction The Dewey Decimal System groups non-fiction books on the same subjects together, so generally all of the books about the same topic will have a similar call number. This means you can look at one shelf and find several books on the same subject.

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Call Numbers in the Catalog When you look up a book in the catalog, you should find the call number listed. Write down both the call number and the book title and take it to the shelf.

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Finding Books on the Shelf When you are looking at the shelves in your library, you want to look from left to right and top to bottom.

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Other Call Number Systems While the Dewey Decimal System is used in most schools, most universities use the Library of Congress classification system. Don’t panic! Books will still be shelved according to their subject.

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Library of Congress The Library of Congress Classification System does not label fiction and nonfiction books differently like Dewey does. All call numbers start with letters and numbers based on a specific subject. Examples: – All books that start with RA565 are about environmental health. – Huckleberry Finn starts with PS1305 and this section also includes literary criticisms and essays related to Huckleberry Finn.

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Library of Congress classification

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Summing Up School libraries organize books using the Dewey Decimal System. Fiction books will have call numbers starting with “F” or “FIC.” Non-fiction books will have call numbers starting with a set of numbers. Non-fiction books on the same topic should be found in the same area in the library. The Library of Congress Classification System is used at most academic libraries to organize books.

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