Research Guide: Books

Use this guide to learn more about how to find books

Finding Books in the Library

Finding Books in the Library

So you've looked up a book in the library's catalog, but now what? How do you find it? 

Here's what you need to know. After searching in the library's catalog, you will see a results page like the one in the image below. Under the title of the book, you'll see more information.

More specifically...

  • You'll see a location and call number like this: Available at Holman Library Main Collection 363.738 C639 2011
  • ‚ÄčJust write down this location and number. It's the Call number or address for the book on the shelves


  • If the book is an online, or ebook, you'll see a link to "view online"
    • Just click the link and sign in with your student info, if prompted, and you'll be taken to the ebook in a database

(click on image to enlarge)

screenshot of the catalog search, showing where to look for the call number to locate print books

Each shelf in the library has a set of call numbers so you can take the number you wrote down from the catalog and use it to locate the print book. Stop by the reference desk and get help from a librarian; we're happy to help you find books in the library! 

What is a Call Number? 

The letters and numbers that you see on the spine of the book are called Call Numbers. These are unique to each book and provide information about the book. Believe it or not, the information on this little sticker can tell you what a book is about and where to find it in the library. Books inside the library are organized by the Dewey Decimal System. This means they are grouped by larger subjects. This means that if you browse by call number, you'll find other related books.

  • The example on the previous tab reads: Main Collection 363.738 C639 2011.
    On the side of the book it looks something like this: 


  • To locate this book in the library you would look first for the 300s section in the Main Collection (the tallest/longest row of bookshelves), then narrow it down to find the exact decimal number. 

(click on image to enlarge)

image of the spines of books, as they sit on the shelf - highlighting the call numbers

Image source: L, Greg. “Call Numbers of Books on Shelf.” Greene County Public Library,

(click on image to enlarge)

image of the second floor of the Holman Library