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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

How to Read Call Numbers

Now that you understand how to read a call number, you can find the item on the shelf.
First, look at the ends of each bookshelf in the library. They each have a Call Number range which includes the Call Number of the first and last book found on the shelf.
  • If your call number falls within that Call Number range (alphabetical first, whole number numeric second), start going down that aisle.
  • If your call number comes afterwards, move onto the next shelf.

When you start to see the area where your book should be, keep two things in mind:

  1. The shelves are organized in a Z formation


         2. Some books are very thin and therefore their Call Number stickers are not going to be visible immediately

When in doubt, ask anyone at the front desk for help!