This guide was designed by a Gustavus student to help you find a book in our library, using the call number you find in the online library catalog. Finding books in the library can be tricky until you get used to it. You're not alone in feeling confused!
One of the most frequent questions we get is people asking for help finding a book, so never feel embarrassed about asking. We don't expect anyone to come into the library automatically knowing how to find books.
If you ever have any trouble finding a book, please ask at the Information Desk or Reference Desk! Both desks are located at the main entrance. For more information on finding and using books, consult the Books section on our Doing Research guide.
Image: Screenshot of Library homepage.
Go to the Library's homepage: gustavus.edu/library
Type your search term into the search box (where it says "Search for Books, Music, Videos & More").
Image: Screenshot of the Children of Ruin catalog record.
Check the book's availability and location information, including call number
“Gustavus Adolphus College” is us, so it’s somewhere in the library.
“General Collection” is information you need to note for step 3.
“PR6120.C53 C452 2019” is the unique code assigned to this book. It’s this number that we’re going to use to find our book.
Image: Library directory.
Visit the Library Directory, located near the entrance, directly across from the Information Desk.
The directory will tell you where books in your collection and call number range are located.
Image: Shelf signs with the letter "P."
Image: Card on the side of a shelf indicating the call number range.
Look for the call number signs on the side of shelves to direct you further.
Consult the cards on the sides of the shelf to narrow your search.
Image: Shelf of books in our call number range. Image: Children of Ruin book
Read the call number to find your book
Remember, it does take some persistence and practice to find books in our library. Any library employee, including our amazing student workers, will be happy to help you find books.
In addition to organizing by call number, our materials are also organized into collections. Here's a list of various collections and where they're located. Make sure you are in the right collection area before you look for your item. The Directory will point you to the right place or ask a library employee.
Everything else that doesn't fit the above categories goes into the General Collection. The General Collection is split over the top floor (call numbers starting with A - PQ) and the main floor (call numbers starting with PR - Z).
Note: Sometimes a book will be listed as being on display. Displays are usually near the entrance; a library worker can easily help you identify which display. Display books can be checked out.