A division of Libraries and Academic Innovation

Gelman Hours for GWorld Holders

The Gelman, Eckles, and VSTC Library buildings are closed, but remote library services and resources and virtual tutoring services remain available. Assistance is available via the virtual Ask Us desk during scheduled Ask Us Desk hours or by email at AskUs@gwu.edu

Please visit GW’s COVID-19 Resource Page for information about changes to university services.

Find a Book on the Shelf

Note: Check the location and the availability to double check which library it is in and if it's on the shelf.  If it's located at another school, you can visit that library or request it.

Step 1:  Write down the call number of the item that you want; a call number is like an address for the book or film.  Here is a screenshot from the catalog with the call number outlined:

Screenshot of the section of the catalog record with the call number

Step 2: Look at the first one or two letters of the call number to determine which floor in Gelman to go to.  For this example, our call number is E185.615 .C6335 2015 so we use the letter 'E' to determine which floor this book is on based on the ranges below.  'E' is alphabetically between 'A' and 'HD' so this book is on the 4th floor. 

A through HD 999 / 4th Floor
HD 1000 through PM / 5th Floor
PN through Z / 6th Floor

Tip: Books are organized by subject.  Look at the items nearby on the shelf to see if those may be helpful as well.

Step 3: Once you get to the correct floor you will first find the aisle where your item is located.  

First, materials are shelved alphabetically by the first letter or letters (In the example above, the first letter is 'E').

Next, they are arranged numerically by the number following the letter(s).  (In this example that is the number 185.615). Keep breaking down the call number one segment at a time to find the aisle, the shelf and the position on the shelf.


185.615 [Read as a whole number and decimal]

.C [Read alphabetically]

6335 [Read as a decimal]

2015 [Year of publication; read in chronological order]

Refer to this guide for further explanation of reading call numbers.

Questions? Don't hesitate stop by the Ask Us desk or call 202-994-6048.

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