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MSF English 098: Finding Books

Sandra Borman

Understanding Call Numbers

Call numbers give the "shelf address" of a book or other library item. They are assigned by subject or in the case of fiction, by the nationality and decade of the author. Call numbers are usually located on the spine or the front cover.  For example:

Bullying Prevention and Intervention, by Susan Swearer:


What do these letters and numbers mean?

  • LB- the subject area where the book is located
    • LB is located alphabetically between LA and LC.
    • L is education
    • LB is K-12 education
    • 3013.32 is read as a whole number, and is located between 3013.31 and 3012.33. 3013.32 is bullying.
  • .S94- additional information about the book, sometimes more than one line; it usually represents the author's last name or the first word of the title.
    • .S is located alphabetically between .R and .T
    • A dot or period is located at the beginning of this number set
    • .94 is read as a decimal number, and is located between .S93 and .S95
  • 2009- year of publication

Therefore, this call number would appear in progression as:

LB           LB         LB

3013.32  3013.32  3013.32

.P39        .S94       .T88
2004       2009      2008

Finding Books

    1. Do a search for your topic.
    2. Click Books, under Resource Type in the Left Column.
      • This will bring up books and e-books that are available in the entire UW system.
    3. Click Locations below the book title to see where it is located either at UW-MSF or at a different UW Library
      • Write down the Call Number to find the book on the shelf in the UW-MSF library.
    4. OR: Click on the plus sign next to a location to order the book from a different library.
      • You will need to sign in with your campus username and password
      • Be sure to choose UW Marshfield Desk as your pick up location
      • HINT: To just find UW-Marshfield/Wood County books, use the campus option in the left column. You may have to click More Options to find UW-Marshfield/Wood County.


    1. Click on the navigator button "My Account" to verify your request and to see other information about your account. 
    2. If working in the library on a public computer, be sure to click “Sign Out” when you finish. That way your account is not available for the next user to see or to use. 
    3. The library will contact you via e-mail when your item arrives. 

UW-Marshfield Librarian

Laurie Petri's picture
Laurie Petri
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