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Getting Started with Library Resources

Your guide to getting started with library resources and research help

Locating Books: Call Numbers

What is a call number?

Call numbers are your path to locating a physical book in the library. Call numbers help librarians and library staff organize our materials and they also make it easier to locate books for library users. Our libraries use Library of Congress classification, meaning books are shelved according to their subject. As a library user, this means you can find lots of books related to one subject all in the same place!

How to read a call number

Read the number left to right starting with the letters. The first part of the number, HN 90 in this example, will tell you which bookcase to look at.

The second part S6 K45 will tell you which shelf to find the book on. The books should be arranged alphabetically/numerically by their call numbers.

The final part of the call number, e.g. 2022, tells you the year the book was published.

Books & eBooks

Centennial Libraries holds hundreds of thousands of books and eBooks. To locate physical books, simply search the title and note the book's call number (see box at left). Since books are organized by subject, once you find the book you are looking for there will be lots of similar books shelved beside it. Remember, the library has more than academic books! Check out the stacks (library-talk for bookshelves) for leisure reading as well.

To locate a book, search for the book's title and/or author and use the filters on the left side of the screen to change the Resource Type to Books, this will show you both physical books and eBooks. If you want to search eBooks only, click Available Online under the Availability drop-down, or browse through our eBook databases (linked below).

eBook Collections

You can also search directly within a specific eBook database to find and read books online. 

Background Information

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