Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

LEP 100: Books

What is a call number?

SMSU uses the Library of Congress Classification System to organize our books.

Each book is given a unique call number in order to help you find that book in the stacks. The call number describes the book, beginning with the broad subject area and ending with specific information about the topic and author. This means that books on similar topics or books by the same author are shelved together.

A call number is similar to a street address. It's not enough information to just know what street someone lives on, you need to know the house or apartment number in order to find them.  A call number is a book's "address."

How to find a call number (book) on the shelf

Call Number Tutorial

Click on the following link to complete a tutorial created by Kent State University on how to read and order Library of Congress call numbers. At the bottom of the page is an animated example showing some of the rules for the Library of Congress call number system in action. After watching this, click on the link that says on to the tests... to complete some call number activities and practice your skills!