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Research Tips

How to find a book

Follow the steps below to find a book. If you have any trouble finding items, please ask at the main desk--we are more than happy to assist you.

Row of books

1. Search the catalog to find the call number

Go to the TLU Library Catalog and do a search. 

When you find a book you want, check to see whether it's a physical book or an ebook. Ebooks will say [electronic resource] in the title, and you can read them in your web browser. If it's a physical book, print or write down the citation (author, title, etc.), the location (Circulating Collection, Reference, etc.), and call number. Note the circulation status: 'available' or 'not charged' mean it is not checked out. 

Example:

Sample record

2. Go to the appropriate location

Circulating Collection: Second floor. Most books are in the Circulating Collection.

Children's Literature: Northwest corner of the second floor, after the Z call numbers

Reference Collection: Main floor

Government Documents: Lower level

See a library floor map

3. Find the book on the shelf

The library uses the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System. The LC call number which you see on the computer screen when you look up a book matches what is on the spine of the book. It’s how the books are organized.

Each book has a unique call number, which is like an address -- it tell us where the book is located. 

Books are arranged in alpha-numeric order. A call number might look like this:

LB    Line 1
2395    Line 2
.L58    Line 3
1988    Line 4
v.4    Line 5

Line 1 designates the subject area. Read it in alphabetical order, so L is first, then LA, LB, LC, etc.
Line 2 is a whole number. 1,2,3,4...100...1000,1001...2000...2395, 2396, etc.
Line 3 is a combination. Read the letter alphabetically and read the number as a decimal. So L before M and .58 before .6
Line 4 is the year the book was published.
Line 5 refers to a multi-volume book.

4. What do the call numbers mean?

Line 1 of the call number designates the subject area. Here is a list of subject areas in the Library of Congress Classification System. You can find a book without knowing this information, since you have the catalog to help you. However, it can be helpful to know the call number range of a subject area you use often.

A - General Works
B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
    BC    Logic
    BF    Psychology
    BJ    Ethics
    BL-BX    Religion
C - Auxilary Sciences of History
D - History: General & Outside of the Americas
    DA    Great Britian
    DB-DP    Europe
    DS    Asia
    DT    Africa
    DU    Oceania
E - History: United States
F - History: United States (Local & Americas)
G - Geography
    GE     Environmental Sciences
    GR    Folklore
    GV    Physical Education, Sports
H - Social Sciences
    HA    Statistics
    HB-HC    Economic theory, history
    HF    Commerce
    HG    Finance
    HM-HN    Sociology & social history
    HQ    Family, marriage, women
    HT    Communities
    HV    Social and public welfare
    HX    Socialism, communism, anarchism
J - Political Science
K - Political Science (Law)
L - Education
    LA    History of education
    LB    Theory and practice
    LD-LG    Higher education
M - Music
N - Fine Arts
    NA    Architecture
    NB    Sculpture
    NC    Drawing, design, illustration
    ND    Painting
    NK    Decorative arts
P - Language
    PA    Classical language & literature
    PC    Romance languages
    PE    English language
    PQ    Romance literature
    PR    English literature
    PS    American literature
Q - Science
    QA    Mathematics
    QB    Astronomy
    QC    Physics
    QD    Chemistry
    QE    Geology
    QH    Natural history, biology
    QK    Botany
    QL    Zoology
    QP    Physiology
R - Medicine
S - Agriculture
T - Technology
    TA    Engineering
    TD    Environmental Technology
    TR    Photography
U - Military Science
V - Naval Science
Z - Library & Information Science

5. Check out the book

Go to the main library desk, and hand the book and your TLU ID card to the library staff member. The loan period for most books is 4 weeks. There is no limit to the number of books that can be checked out.