A division of Libraries and Academic Innovation

Gelman Hours for GWorld Holders

Remote library services and resources and virtual tutoring services are available while library buildings are closed. Assistance with all services, including locating print materials or requesting materials be digitized, is available

Instructor support for Blackboard, academic technology tools and teaching questions is available on the teaching resources for the COVID-19 virtual learning period page.  

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:

Book cover and call number of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me with call number E185.615 .C6335 2015 highlighted in a red box

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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