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St. Joseph School Library. (n.d.). What is a call number? Retrieved from
http://library.stjosephsea.org/callnumber.htm
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John F. Kennedy Elementary School Library. (n.d.). An introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification
System [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://www.kennedy.dubuque.k12.ia.us/Dewey2.pps
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Middle Tennessee State University. (n.d.). Lets do Dewey. Retrieved from
http://frank.mtsu.edu/~vvesper/dewey2.htm
Dewey Decimal System - Call Numbers
Call number = Book address (Tells you where the book is located on the shelf).
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Just like house addresses tell you where to find a specific house on a street, call
numbers tell you where to find a specific book on a shelf. No two books have the
same call number, just as no two houses have the same address.
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Facts about call numbers:
- The call number consists of numbers and letters.
- Books are grouped together by subject using the call number.
- Each subject has its own call number category.
- There are 10 call number categories that books can be placed in according
to their subjects.
- The subject call numbers range from 000-999.
- Call numbers are arranged in number order first and ABC order second.
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Call numbers are found on the spine of the book
(the place where all the pages are connected).
1251 1253 1257
590.4 591.5 592.1
598
R
Robb
B
i
r
d
s

Call
Number
1
John F. Kennedy Elementary School Library. (n.d.). An introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification
System [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from http://www.kennedy.dubuque.k12.ia.us/Dewey2.pps
2
Middle Tennessee State University. (n.d.). Lets do Dewey. Retrieved from
http://frank.mtsu.edu/~vvesper/dewey2.htm
To find a book on a shelf:
- Start at the left on the top shelf and move to the right until the shelf ends.
- Then, go the next shelf underneath and do the same (left to right).
- If you reach the last shelf and still have not found your book, move to the
top of the next shelf and repeat the same process (left to right, top to
bottom).
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Example: How to find a book using the call number:
Step 1. Know what book or what type of book you are looking for.
- I am looking for the book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Step 2. Use the card catalog to look up the title and find the call number.
- I discover that the call number for Harry Potter and the Chamber of
Secrets is .
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Step 3. Go to the section of the library that has shelves labeled in the 800s.
- Once I see the shelves labeled in the 800s, I walk down that row and
start looking on the top shelf with the book furthest to the left.
- I scan the spine of the books where the call numbers are located looking
for the number on the book that matches the call number I am looking
for. (Remember to move left to right and top to bottom).
- I know that 823.914 is close to the beginning of the 800 section. That
would be a good place to start looking for this call number.
823.914
R797c