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Library Quick Start Guide for Students

Welcome to the Claremont Colleges Library! Use this guide to get oriented and learn the basics of what the library has to offer.

Find books using the library search

You can use Library Search to search for books, videos and DVDs, music scores, and other materials owned by the Claremont Colleges Library. There are many ways to search; for example, by author, by title, or by keyword.

    • Find Books Using Simple Keywords

If you're looking for information on a topic you're researching, use the basic search. Enter the most important words from your topic into the search box and click search.

Example: to find out about the effect of violence in the media on young children, try keywords like media violence children.

 

To find a book by either the Title of the book or by the name of its author you will need to select the Advanced Search option.

 

    • Find Books by Author Name

If you are looking for something by a particular author or creator, you will first need to select Author Phrase from the pull down menu in Advanced Search.  Once Author Phrase is selected, enter "last name, first name" into the search box and click search.

Example: Obama, Barack

 

    • Find Books by Title

If you are looking for something by a particular title, you will first need to select Title Phrase from the pull down menu in Advanced Search.  Once Title Phrase is selected, enter the title of the book into the search box and click search.

Example: for the title The Economics of Energy and the Production Process: an Evolutionary Approach, type the whole title or type just the first few words in order: the economics of energy.

Understanding LC Call Numbers

What exactly is a call number anyway?
A call number is the unique number given to each book in the library. Call numbers are like addresses, they tell you where a book will be located in the library.

Why should I know how to read one?
If you understand how to read a call number, it will be a lot easier for you to find books in the library.

What does a call number look like?
This library uses LC call numbers (LC stands for Library of Congress), which use a combination of letters and numbers. The same exact call number can be written 2 dfferent ways:

A call number that you find in Blais (the online library catalog) will look like this:
CT105 .K55 1981

And that same call number will look like this on the spine of the book:
CT
105
.K55
1981
 
So, here's how you read a call number on the spine of a book:
CT       --Read it alphabetically (A, B, C, CT, D, E, F, G, H, HA, HQ, etc.)
105     --Read it numerically (1, 10, 100, 100.5, 105, 1005.10, etc.)
.K55     -- Read alphabetically and then decimally (.A23, .A233, .A33, .B4555, .B50, etc.)
1981    --The final line is a date.
 

And here is how this book would be placed on the shelf:

CT
104
.P281
1930   

CT
104
.P7
1830   

CT
105
.H866
1995   

CT
105
.K55
1981
   

D
105
.H43
1992   

D
105
.H6
1921   

 
So now that I know how to read a call number, how do I use it to find books in the library?
1. When you find a book that looks interesting in Blais, make sure you write down the entire call number.

2. Check the location code to find out what library building the book will be in (HON=Honnold/Mudd, DEN=Denison, CST=School of Theology, RSA=Rancho Santa Ana).

3. Look at the first letter(s) of the call number. Use this to figure out what part of the library to go to. Once you are on the correct floor, look for labels at the end of each set of bookshelves. These will tell you what call numbers can be found on those shelves.

4. Find the book on the shelf and take it to the desk or the self-check machine to check it out.