Answered By: Gabe Research & Writing Studio
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2016     Views: 161

A call number is used as a way to organize books, or other items in a library.  Call numbers are roughly assigned by subject area, though the book you are looking for may not always be next to other books on the same subject.  At Western Libraries we use Library of Congress call numbers (AKA Library of Congress Classification), which are common at other academic libraries.  Many people are familiar with the Dewey Decimal System for call numbers, but academic collections are usually too large to use that system.  Some materials at Western Libraries are not organized with Library of Congress call numbers, such as government documents and maps.

All books organized with Library of Congress call numbers start with a letter or two, which will tell you the general area where the item is shelved, followed by a series of numbers and letters.  All items are organized in alphanumeric order.  

If you have trouble finding somerthing speak with one of the library staff at the desk and we will be happy to assist you.

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