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Locating Materials

Locating an Item

These are instructions for locating an item you have discovered through the CUNY Catalog.

First, make sure that you are on the correct floor. In the catalog record, look in the Location column. It may say:

  • Stacks (Call # A-L Level 4; Call # P-Z Level 5)
  • Reference Level 3
  • Periodicals Level 1
  • Borrowing Level 3 *
  • Art Stacks Level 6
  • Juvenile Level 4
  • Media Ctr. Video Level 1 *

* You must ask for assistance at the desk on the appropriate level to access items on reserve or in the media center.

This tells you on what floor (level) the item can be found. For instance, if a book is in the stacks, you would want to check level 4 if its call number begins with a letter prior to L in the alphabet, and level 5 if its call number begins with P or a later letter.

If you would like to know where your item is on that floor, please see this map of the library.

If you need help reading call numbers, please see this tutorial.

If you still need help, please ask one of our student assistants. They can be readily identified by their red vests.


Browsing for Materials

Dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference materials on all topics can be found on Level 3. Journals, newspapers and magazines are stored on Level 1 and circulating books can be found on Levels 4 and 5, with the first half of the alphabet (A-L) on Level 4 and the remainder (P-Z) on Level 5. Materials relating to music and art are located in the Music Library and the Art Library, respectively.

Most books in the library are organized according to the Library of Congress Classification scheme. This system is a standard shared by many academic libraries throughout the United States. Below is a list of popular topics and their place in the classification scheme. If your topic is not listed here, please try the official classification schedule on the Library of Congress home page.

Philosophy, psychology and religion
History of Europe, Asia and America
History of the Americas
Social sciences, including statistics, economics and sociology
Political science
Music (Collection is in the Music Library)
Art (Collection is in the Art Library)
Language and literature
Physical sciences, including mathematics, physics, geology, biology and physiology
Technology, including textile industries, consumer science and nutrition
Military and naval science
Library science and bibliographies

If you would like to know where a particular call range is in the library, please see our map. If you need help understanding the LC classification system, try this tutorial.

If you are having trouble locating an item, please ask one of our student assistants. They can be readily identified by their red vests.


Missing Items

If you cannot find an item in its place on the shelf, please speak to the staff at the Borrowing desk. They will supply you with a search card, which allows us to conduct a thorough search and notify you if the item is found.


Other Collections

For help locating some of our other collections, such as the Educational Curriculum Center or Government Documents, please see our maps page, or ask a librarian.

For more information contact:

Mr. Aldo Delgado
Collection Management

Prof. Simone Yearwood
Access Services Librarian


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