The Music & Performing Arts Library has materials in many formats, including books, music scores, recordings (CDs, LPs, cassettes), videos (DVDs, VHS, and laserdisc), journals, microfilms, and online resources. This guide will walk you through the process of finding these materials in the library and searching for them using the library catalog.
Once you find something in the results list that looks promising, open the full record for the item and take a look. Is the book available in more than one library? Is it on the shelf or has someone else checked it out? Make sure to note this before you make the trip over to the library.
If an item is available, you'll see a line of text underneath the name of the library that reads: On Shelf, [a location, e.g. Stacks]; call number. To figure out where to go in the library, see the list of locations at MPAL listed below. To figure out how to find the book on the shelf, see the next tab that explains how call numbers work or check out our slide tutorial at the bottom of this page.
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Stacks
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Media Collection
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Plays Collection
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Reference Non-circulating
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Periodicals
Location: Music & Performing Arts Library Special Collection
Once you've identified the book's location, the next step is finding the item on the shelf - this is where the call number comes in.
The Music and Performing Arts Library uses both the Dewey Decimal Classification system and the Library of Congress Classification system for our call numbers. New items get LC numbers (GV: dance; M, ML, MT: music; PL, PN, etc: theatre) while older items have Dewey numbers, and you'll need to go to a different section of the library to find your book depending on which system it is classified with.
If you're just hoping to browse a section for a particular topic, this means you may need to look in more than one place for items on one subject.
Library of Congress:
Examples taken from the University Library's Information Literacy Tutorial on finding books.
See the next box for a step by step slide tutorial that will both explain LC Classification and help you find a book classified with an LC number.
Check out this brief slide tutorial to learn how to identify an item's call number in the catalog, how to decipher a Library of Congress call number, and how to locate the item at MPAL using its call number.
This tutorial was created in Fall 2020 by MPAL GA, David Floyd.