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How can I locate books in the library?

FAQ Categories: Finding Materials

The Library Media Center uses the Library of Congress Classification System to organize its collection by subject category. This is the most common system used in academic libraries, and is different than the Dewey Decimal system, which is most frequently used in school and public libraries. Our guide, Library of Congress Classification System, provides an overview of the system and how to read call numbers and locate the books on the shelves.

At GCC Main, the General collection or circulating book shelves (or "stacks") are on both north and south sides of our Computer Commons area; the reference books are housed in the low shelves near the Information/Reference Desk at the west end of the building. The books are shelved with the A-N classification range on the north side of the building, the N-Z range on the south side. The Juvenile and Oversize collections are shelved at the end of the Z classification area. The General or circulating collection is housed in "open" stacks; some media (DVDs, VHS tapes), back issues of periodicals and reserve materials are in "closed" stacks, and you have to request these items at the Circulation Desk. Also, a "Leisure Reading" collection is located at the north end of the General collection stacks, and you can browse here for recent fiction and non-fiction titles arranged by the last name of the author.

GCC North. The Library & Computer Center has a similar arrangement. Low shelves contain reference materials; taller shelves house General Collection, Juvenile, and Pro/Con materials.

The best way to locate books is to use the online catalog on our home page - Locate Books & Video. The library does not maintain a separate "Card Catalog." Books on a subject will be shelved together, generally, so you can browse. Nevertheless, it is a good practice to use the catalog since there are some idiosyncrasies in the system that may result in materials on similar topics having different call numbers. It is important to note that, unlike the Dewey system, there is no separate section for biographies and fiction is not arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.

[Info helps to answer Coyle assignment.]

Link: Library of Congress Classification System
Link: Locate Books and Video
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Reference librarians and staff are available to answer your questions about the resources, policies, and procedures.  If you need assistance, please ask.

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