Library Collections & Call Numbers

The Sojourner Truth Library organizes its materials into different library collections and then arranges individual items in a collection by a call number.

Specialized Collections of Note:

Navigating the Library by Collections and Call Numbers:


Collections: Library Locations

The Sojourner Truth Library houses items in specific collections according to the type of material the item represents. A few of the more frequently accessed collections in the library are:

  • Reference Collection, on the Main Floor of the library. This is where you can find materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc.
  • Reserves Collection, on the Main Floor. This is where you can find any course readings that your instructors have placed on Traditional Library Reserves
  • Stacks, on the Middle Floor and Ground Floor. This is where you can find our largest collection, housing fiction and non-fiction books that offer in-depth exploration of topics
  • Oversize Collection, on the Ground Floor. This is where you can find large sized books, often containing large art images, maps, musical scores, etc.
  • Juvenile and Young Adult Collections, on the Middle Floor. This is where you can find materials for children ranging from picture books for very young children to fiction and non-fiction books written for children K-12.
  • Periodicals Collections, on the Main Floor (for Current Periodicals) or the Ground Floor (for Bound Periodicals on the compact shelves). This is where you can find the print versions of our magazines and scholarly journals. We also subscribe to many periodicals in electronic form through our databases.
  • Media Collection, on the Middle Floor. This is where you can find video tapes and DVDs, audio books, and music CDs.
  • Microforms Collection, on the Main Floor. This is where you will find microform versions (microfilm, microfiche, etc.) of items like older periodicals, government publications, or ERIC Documents.
  • Government Documents Collection, on the Ground Floor. This is where you can find the print documents issued by various government offices, including department reports, transcripts for congressional committee hearings, consumer information, etc.
  • Special Collections, at the Check Out counter on the Main Floor. This is where you can request older or special documents that must be kept protected for various reasons.
Call Numbers

Library of Congress Classification System

Like most academic libraries in the United States, the Sojourner Truth Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System for the call numbers it assigns to most of the items in its collections.

As an exception to that, items in the Government Documents collection are usually assigned call numbers based on the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) Classification System.

Understanding an item's call number

The Library of Congress Classification, which is the basis for assigning an item's call number, arranges materials by subjects.

Title: Student guide to research in the digital age
Author: Stebbins, Leslie F.
Location & Call number: Stacks ZA3075 .S74 2006
  Stacks = Location: the stacks collections on the middle or ground floor
  ZA3075 = LC Classification subject of the item: Information Resources
  .S74 = S for the initial of the primary author's last name, Stebbins
  2006 = the year book was published
  • The first sections of the call number represent the subject of the item.
  • The letter and decimal number section of the call number often represents the author's last name.
  • Commonly, the last section of a call number is the date of publication.
  • For Example,

Because books are classified by subject, you can often find several helpful books on the same shelf, or nearby. For example, within the range of call numbers around the example above, there are other items about using information resources:

  • ZA3075.E385 2004 - Information literacy: Essential skills for the information age
  • ZA3075.S74 2006 - Student guide to research in the digital age
  • ZA3225.B67 2000 - From Gutenberg to the global information infrastructure
  • ZA4201.W43 2002 - Web of deception: Misinformation on the Internet
Reading Call Numbers

Each item in the library has a unique call number. When you find an item in the library's online catalog you will see its location and call number, which is like a unique address specifically for that particular item. Knowing your item's location and call number enables you to navigate your way to the place where that item is located in the library.

Reading Call Numbers

In the STL Online Catalog, call numbers are read left to right like this:

    Stacks ZA3075.S74 2006

    Stacks = the item's location in the library
    ZA3075.S74 2006 = the item's unique call number

On the item itself, the call number is read top to bottom like this:

  • ZA - The first line is read in alphabetical order (A,...B,...BF,... L, LA, LB,...Z, ZA).
  • 3075 - The second line is read as a whole number (1, 2, 3, ... 45, ... 100, ... 1000, ... 3000, ... 3074, 3075, 3076 ...).
  • .S74 - The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal (.S74 = the letter S + .74).
  • 2006 - This is the year the book was published.
Call Number Order

In the library, items are arranged on shelves by the order of their call numbers. Call number order can sometimes appear confusing at first.

Call Number Order

 In the sections of the Stacks housing items about the Social Sciences, the following call numbers are in the correct order:

  • H61.K473 2003
  • HC21.C63 2007 - HC comes after H
  • HQ18.A65 S49 2006 - HQ comes after HC
  • HQ728.C484 2006 - HQ728 comes after HQ18
  • HQ728.F3118 2001 - Both begin with HQ728 but alphabetically .F comes after .C
  • HQ728.F43 2006 - Both begin with HQ72.F but the decimal .43 comes after .3118
  • HQ755.5.U5 R33 2002 - HQ755.5 comes after HQ728
  • HQ755.5.U5 R45 1991 - Both begin with HQ755.5.U5 but the extension R45 comes after R33
  • HQ755.8 .A47 1992
  • HQ755.8 .A47 2001 - Same call numbers except for the date: 2001 comes after 1992

Thus, on the shelves in the Stacks on the middle floor, these items would be located in the same order. That is, the item with the call number H61.K473 2003 would be found before the item HC21.C63 2007, which would be found on the shelves before the item HQ18.A65 S49 2006 and so on down the list.