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Finding Books: Locating Items in the Library

This guide explains how to discover and retrieve books

Item Status

The online library catalog will also tell you whether the item is on the shelf or not.

Some examples of item statuses:

  • Available -- if an item says 'available' and it's on the shelf, ask at the Reference Desk and we can help you track it down.
  • Checked out -- you cannot request items that have been checked out*
  • Lost -- this item has been marked lost because it is considerably overdue*
  • Missing -- the last time someone tried to find this item on the shelf it wasn't there*

* Search in I-Share or place an ILL request for these items. You may also recommend that the Library purchase a replacement.

What's in a Call Number?

Every book in the DDS is assigned a classification number and a cutter number. The classification number is assigned by subject, and the cutter number indicates the author's last name. The result is that a book like Reading matters: what the research reveals about reading, libraries, and community by Catherine Sheldrick Ross will have a call number looking like "028.9 R823".

Locating an Item

Retrieving books

Once you find an item that you would like to check out, click on its title to open the full record. Take note of the item's Location and Call Number -- this is how you will find the book on our shelves. The stacks on our lower floor cover the 000-499 Dewey ranges, while the stacks on our upper floor cover the 500-999 Dewey ranges.

You can find an item's Location and Call Number in two places: within the list of search results or within the item record itself.

Within the list of search results, it will look like the image below:

Within the item record, it will look like this:


An outline of the various collections of books in the library.

Biography Collection -- Located on our lower floor, on the north side near the Archives.
Extensive Reading Program -- Books geared toward English language learners, located near the Pratt classroom on the main floor.
Illinois Collection -- Held in the Archives.
Civil War Collection -- Located on our lower floor, on the north side near the Archives.
Juvenile Collection -- Located on our lower floor, on the north side near the Archives.
Lincoln Collection -- Ask at the Circulation Desk.
Lower Floor -- Part of our main collection, 000-499's.
Reference -- Located on our main floor, across from the reference desk. Books in this collection may only be used inside of the library.
Upper Floor -- Part of our main collection, 500-999's.