FAQ module icon

Frequently Asked Questions

I found a book in the online catalog. Now, how do I find it on the shelf?

Book Art by Joanne Asbury

How to Find a Book 

You can always ask a staff member, but it's usually easy to find it yourself.

The online catalog record for 'The 3 Musketeers' by Alexandre Dumas.

The online catalog record tells you the author, the title, and the publisher of the book. Then it tells you where to find it by using Location, Call #, and Status.

LOCATION     EUR Fiction   

EUR means the book is in Eureka Library.  Fiction tells you the book is in the Fiction area. (Just request the book if it isn't at your location).

ARC  = Arcata,  BLK =  Blue Lake, BKM = Bookmobile, EUR = Eureka, FER = Ferndale, FOR = Fortuna, GAR = Garberville, HOA = Hoopa, MCK = McKinleyville, RIO = Rio Dell, TRI = Trinidad, and WCK = Willow Creek.

Call #        FICTION DUMAS

The 'Call Sign' or 'Call Number' is the book's address and tells you exactly where to find it. 

Fiction is shelved in ABC order, just like words in a dictionary. To find this DUMAS book, first find call signs beginning with D.  Then look for DU, and when you get to DUM, you will be close enough to touch the book. Because U is close to the end of the alphabet, this book is near the end of all the books in the D area.


Before you go hunting for a book, look at the STATUS. If the status is Checked Out, or No Available Items, place a hold or talk to a staff member. But when it says Check Shelf, you can usually expect to find the book on the shelf where it belongs. (If the status is Ready to Shelve, the book was returned recently and you can check the shelf for it, but ask a staff member if you don't find it there.)

Books with Call Numbers

What if the book has a call number, like Robert Sapolsky's 'A Primate's Memoir' does?  Online catalog record for Robert Sapolsky's book, 'A Primate's Memoir'/The call number is a subject number, so finding this book will lead you to others about primates too.

CALL #       599.865 SAPOLSKY

Books with a call number are in 123 order. The numbers start with zero and end with 900s. On the end of each shelf you will see a sign that gives you a number range, like 479 to 610. If the number you have is between those two numbers, you have found the right shelf.

First look for the 599 area. Then look at the first number after the period in the call sign - 599.1, 599.2, until you find 599.8.  Now look for the second number after the period, to find 599.86, and then 599.865. 

There might be more than one book that has the same subject number. If there are, they will be next to each other in ABC order according to the name at the end of the call number, so if you are writing it down, don't leave out the name.

Show All Answers

1. I found a book in the online catalog. Now, how do I find it on the shelf?
2. Some of these Call Signs look like a code. How do I know what they mean?
3. How does the Dewey Decimal System work?