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#ExploreTheFloors: Call Numbers, Locations, and Circulation

How to Navigate the Stacks: Call Numbers, Locations, and Circulation

This week we will take a closer look at call numbers, book locations, and how to check out a book at the circulation desk!
Cudahy Library uses the Library of Congress system, which means materials are assigned a call number and arranged alphabetically. A call number is unique to every book and helps you locate it within the stacks. Most call numbers are displayed on the spine of the book, some appear on the front cover. Unlike the Dewey Decimal system, Library of Congress call numbers begin with letters that are followed by numbers.

Let’s break it down: How Call Numbers Work [click on the photos to enlarge]


  • Figure A: Books are shelved alphabetically by the first letter or letters.
  • Figure B: Books are then organized numerically by the numbers after the letter(s).
  • Figure C: Lastly, books are arranged alphabetically by the next letter and decimally by the following number and year.

When searching for a book on the library website the call numbers will appear next to their location:

This specific book is available at Cudahy Library Main Stacks, but what does that mean? The main stacks are the second and third floor and each floor houses a specific range of call numbers:


  • Third Floor: A – F
  • Second Floor: J – Z

In parenthesis you will notice that the call number for Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark is
F548.65 .M55 G55 2006. What floor would you search for this book? The third floor!

Once you’ve found your book head down to the Cudahy circulation desk on the first floor to check it out. You must have a Loyola ID in order to check out your book, no exceptions!

Other locations that may appear next to a call number are:

  • Cudahy Popular Reading: First Floor
  • Oversize & Supersize: Stack Deck A
  • Periodicals: Lower Level
  • Reference: Stack Deck B

Check back as we continue to #ExploreTheFloors in Cudahy Library!

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