Creative Non-Fiction: Locating Your Book in the Library

Research guide for students in Creative Non-Fiction. This guide will help you find a book for your semester project.
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Finding Your Book in the "Stacks"

*** To help with social distancing, please try to locate an e-book of your book. The library is still open with limited hours if you need to visit.***

Most books are located in Memorial Library. We often call this part of the library, the "stacks." 

Memorial Library has multiple floors (lower level, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Lower, 4th Upper, 5th).

All books are given a "call number," which is a unique identifier (similar to your MUID) to help you locate a book in the stacks. 

We keep track of all of our books in the library catalog. In the catalog, each book has its own record. Each record provides information on how to locate that particular book. 

Below is an example of a catalog record with all of the information that you will need to find your book. 

When you identify a book that you want to locate, 

1) Write down the location of the book (see the maps below) 

2) Write down the call number - a mix of numbers and letters 

3) Check to make sure that the book is available 

4) For extra help - click on the yellow "Map It" button - it tells you the row where your book is located


HQ77.8.M385 2014  

Let's break it down into sections: 





To read a call number, consider each section independently.

  • HQ
    Read the 1st line in alphabetical order: G, H, HQ, HR, I, IA, J...
  • 77
    Read the 2nd line as a whole number: 1, 2, 32, 77, 77.3, 77.8, 78, 101, 1000...
  • M385
    First read the 3rd line alphabetically. Then read the following number as a decimal: C51, D49,  M385, M 39, M56, Z616, Z66, Z8 
  • 2014
    The last line is the year, and is read in chronological order: 1989, 1992, 2000, 2014, 2016

You should be close to finding your book when you reach the third line. 

Browse the books around the book that you want. Call numbers are assigned by subject area - so books next to each are most likely related to each other. 

If you can't find your book - stop by the circulation desk in Memorial or the Info Desk on the first floor of Raynor and someone would be happy to help you.

Maps of the Library