Finding a book is easy
1. Catalog. Use the library catalog for three important steps:
- SEARCH. Search for the book in the library. Remember to use exact spelling. From experience, our favorite search combination is “author’s last name + a key word from the book’s title.”
- CALL NUMBER. Write down call numbers for the books you would like to use. This is key to finding the book in the library.
- LOCATION. You also need to check each book's location to see if it is located in the regular collection or a private collection. To do this, click on "Show Copy Information" at the bottom left of each book section. Books in private collections will have the name of the private collection under the “Location” column and will likely be located in the alcoves in the main hall.
- If the book is in a private collection, use the map to identify which alcove it is in and then use the Library of Congress call number to locate the book within that collection. If there’s nothing under “Location,” then it is in the main collection.
- Some of our books are too large to "stand" on the shelves and must be placed on a lower shelf in a different position. In this case you should find a laminated sheet where the book would go if it were smaller, telling you to find it on a nearby lower shelf. Please leave the laminated sheet where it is, but find the book where it directs you.
2. Map. Use a library map to find the area of the call number of the book you want. For example, if the book’s call number begins with BS 1500, search for this section on the library map. Once you arrive in the upstairs part of our east wing, start looking at the individual books to orient yourself and get closer to the book you want. Signs are posted on the ends of shelves to help you.
3. Finished. When you have completed your use of the book, please leave it on a table and we will re-shelve it. If you want to reserve the book for further research, click here for instructions.
If you have located the call numbers before and after the book and it is not there, please ask one of our library staff members for help. A book may be displaced because:
a) Someone has reserved it for research,
b) It still needs to be re-shelved after being used by another patron. It will be on a "re-shelving cart,"
c) It has been cataloged, but not labeled/shelved for the first time, or
d) Worst case scenario: someone has returned it to the wrong place.
Again, please let us know if you cannot find a book. Our librarian has a knack for finding things, AND we need to know if a book has been displaced.