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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Using the Library Catalog

This guide explains how to log into an account, search the catalog, and how to renew and request items.

Finding Items on the Shelf

Once you've found an item in the catalog, you need to know which library it is in.

image that shows the various locations for the book kindred by octavia butler

  • Locations: Each entry represents an individual item on the shelf in that location.
    For example, there are copies of the book above at both the Main Stacks and the Florida Ave. Residence Hall Library.
  • Call Number: Where on the shelf an item can be found; it's like the book's address on the shelf. It's the number after the location as shown above. Libraries on our campus use Library of Congress (LC) Classification and the Dewey Decimal system to organize materials. For more information see the infographics below. 
  • Status: The text below the location; shows whether a book is available to check out or not.
    • On Shelf - The item is on the shelf.
    • Most other statuses (e.g. out of library, damaged, in process, overdue, missing) mean that the item is not available. If there is not a copy available on campus, try searching for the item in I-Share (check just below the U of I availability for I-Share availability).
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian!

Library of Congress

Infographic Text

Finding a Book on the Shelf with Library of Congress

Example Call Number: HA 155.A5 1944

  • The first section: HA
    • The first section is always in alphabetical order. H is before HA. And HA is before HB.
  • The second section: 155
    • This number is always in numerical order. 15 is before 155. And 155 is before 158.
  • The letter after the decimal: A5
    • This section is alphabetical by the letter and then numerical by the number. A is before A5. And A5  is before A7.
  • Extra parts at the end
    • This section is alphabetical by letter and numerical by number.

Dewey Decimal

Infographic Text

Finding a Book on the Shelf with Dewey

Example Call Number: 813.13G32

  • The first number: 812
    • The first number is always in numerical order. 812 is before 813, and 813 is before 814.
  • The numbers after the decimal: .13
    • This number is also always in numerical order. Treat it like a decimal number. .12 is before .13. and .13 is before .136.
  • The letter after the decimal: G32
    • This section is alphabetical by the letter and then numerical by the decimal number. F97 is before G32. G3 is before G32. And G32 is before G33.
  • Extra parts at the end
    • This section is alphabetical by letter and numerical by number.