Answered By: Rebecca Blair
Last Updated: Oct 08, 2018     Views: 534

To find a book by location and call number,

  • See our Call Number and Location Guide
  • Ask for help online or at the Ask the Library desk at Carrier, Rose, and Music Libraries
  • Check the building-specific call number guides posted throughout library spaces


Here are some instructions for more specific help:


JMU uses the Library of Congress filing system, or the LC system for short. This system organizes all items by their subject.

To find a book on the shelf:

  1. Look at the LC number. The first letter or letters will tell you where to go. These items are stored alphabetically on the shelf.
    1. For example, if you are looking RA it would be after all of the R books, but before the RB books.
  2. After these letters there is a number. This indicates where in that section you should look.
    1. These are whole numbers, meaning that RA1 is next to RA2, but RA1000 is next to RA999 and RA1001. Read the whole number at once to figure out where it is.
  3. After this, there are typically more letters and numbers to narrow your search further.
    1. Follow the letter just like you did before, but the numbers after this letter work differently. They are treated as decimal place numbers.
      1. For example, if you are looking at this call number (RA1.L561) it would be stored right next to RA1.L56, or RA1.L562. The first number is the most important, and it then narrows down to more specific as the number continues.

Below is our handy call number guide. You can find one of these at either of the front desks or posted next to the elevator on each floor.


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