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Reworking Our Call Numbers

posted Jan 4, 2021, 10:36 AM by Central Library   [ updated Jan 4, 2021, 10:36 AM ]

REWORKING CALL NUMBERS - McIninch Library at Central High School


Fiction Call Numbers - all LETTERS


At our McIninch Library at Central High School, all fiction books are shelved in order of the author’s last name.  The call number, the label on the book to help you find it, begins with FIC and underneath that is the first three letters of the name of the Author.  Even though there are no "numbers", we still call this identification a call number.  So, a call number of FIC LAM would have all the books by Lamb, Lamott, L’amour, any author whose last name starts with LAM.  Notice we ignore all non-alphabetical symbols, like apostrophes or accent marks,


Nonfiction Call Numbers - Numbers and LETTERS


If you’ve used other libraries, you probably know most libraries don’t organize their nonfiction books by the author's name. Like us, most high school libraries use the Dewey Decimal System to group nonfiction by topic. Some very big libraries and research libraries often use different systems to organize their nonfiction books which use call numbers constructed entirely of numbers.  Our nonfiction call numbers use the Dewey Decimal numbers followed by three letters.  The three letters following the Dewey Decimal numbers, similar to our fiction call numbers, are usually the first three letters of the author's last name. In some cases, when a nonfiction book is compiled by a group of editors instead of written by an author, the three letters are the first three letters of the editors or the title of the book.


For over 15 years, our library here at Central has had a mix of these two different systems. On the spine labels, after the Dewey Decimal call numbers, some of our nonfiction books had numbers and some had letters.  We are currently working on the huge project of making our call numbers consistent and have been reworking the call numbers with all numbers to be replaced by the Dewey Decimal numbers followed by the first three letters of the author's last name. Not only is it consistent and a common standard, but also it makes it easier to find nonfiction books.


Why is it such a huge project?  It is very time consuming mainly because there are many steps involved, some of which can happen concurrently.

Identifying those books out of compliance

Changing the data in the Destiny library catalog system

Printing new spine labels of the ones that were changed

Locating those books out of compliance

Adhering new spine label with additional protective clear label

Reshelving to a different location in Dewey order, when applicable

Printing new barcode labels of the ones that were changed

Locating those books out of compliance

Fixing the internal library information within the book, from the old way it was processed

Adhering new barcode label with additional protective clear label on the book

Replacing the old barcode within the book, from the old way it was processed

Revising and creating new descriptive signage


Biography Call Numbers - Start with a ‘B’; in a special area


In some libraries, like ours here at Central High School, one group of Dewey numbers are preceded by the letter “B” which indicates the book is located in a special area of the library which has our Biography collection. The Biography collection includes not only biographies, but also autobiographies and memoirs.