Library search tips

  • When searching for an item in a library, it is easiest to begin by searching the online catalog. Most libraries have a search station (or stations) set up in an obvious location in the library. Here you can usually search by title, author, genre, or subject. The catalog will then locate all the relevant items in the collection and give you the location and availability.
  • You may also browse for books in the library by using the shelf signs to find the section you are seeking. For example, if you are looking for a novel by Stephen King, you will need to look in the Fiction section. These books are shelved in alphabetical order and most libraries have signs on each shelf to tell the users what section of the alphabet is shelved there. Find the shelf that correlates with "K"and use the spine labels to find KIN. All books by Stephen King will be located together.
  • If you are looking for a nonfiction book, these books are shelved according to their Dewey Decimal number. In the nonfiction section, many smaller libraries will label what each set of numbers stands for, such as 700 for Arts and Recreation. Each section is further broken down into subcategories, like 770 for photography. In this case, it is generally easier to do a subject search using the OPAC for "photography." The OPAC will list all books and their call numbers, which will start with 770. Then you can quickly locate the 700 shelf of the nonfiction section and find photography books with the 770s.
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