Sunnyvale Public Library

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Understanding Call Numbers

How items are assigned on the shelves.

Have you ever wondered how library items are assigned their places on the shelves?  Call Numbers, the letters and/or numbers placed on the spine of an item, gives you the exact location of the item on the shelf. 

This is where a call number is located:

Call Number

Fiction Books are shelved with the prefix of F and alphabetically by the first three letters of the authors last name.  As an example:

      Gone with the Wind / by Margaret Mitchell  - will have a call number of  F MIT


Nonfiction Books are shelved in numerical order (Dewey Decimal System) and the first three letters of the author's last name.  As an example:

      The Art of Gone with the Wind / by Judy Cameron and Paul J. Christman  - will have a call number of 791.43 CAM

Biography Books are shelved with the prefix of B and by the subject's last name.  As an example:

   Southern Daughter : The Life of Margaret Mitchell and the Making of Gone with the Wind / by Darden Asbury Pyron - will have a call number of B MITCHELL

Reference Books are shelved with the prefix of R, then in numerical order (Dewey Decimal System) and the first three letter of the author's last name.As an example:

The Filmgoer's Companion / by Leslie Halliwell - will have a call number of R 791.43 HAL

Fiction Feature Films are shelved with their prefixes and alphabetically by title.  As an example:

      Gone with the Wind / DVD edition - will have a call number of DVD F GON

      Gone with the Wind / Videocassette edition - will have a call number of VC F GON

Documentary Videos are shelved first with their prefixes, their Dewey Decimal Number and the first three letters of the title:  As an example:

      The Making of a Legend : Gone with the Wind / DVD edition - will have a call number of DVD 791.43 MAK

      The Making of a Legend : Gone with the Wind / Videocassette edition - will have a call number of VC 791.43 MAK

***** Always remember when searching by  Title to disregard the articles A, An or The at the beginning of a Title.*****

List of Call Number Prefixes used in the Sunnyvale Public Library

(Dewey Decimal Number is represented by 123.4)

Beginner Readers/Kids Books

E                             Easy Books  (Picture Books)

BB E                      Board Books

Tween/Juvenile Books

J F                          Juvenile Fiction

J GN F                  Juvenile Graphic Novel Fiction

J PB                       Juvenile Paperback Fiction

J 123.4                  Juvenile Nonfiction

J GN 123.4          Juvenile Graphic Novel Nonfiction

J B                          Juvenile Biography

J GN B                  Juvenile Graphic Novel Biography

J R 123.4              Juvenile Reference


Teen/Young Adult Books

YA F                       Young Adult Fiction

YA GN F                Young Adult Graphic Novel Fiction

YA 123.4               Young Adult Nonfiction

YA GN 123.4        Young Adult Graphic Novel Nonfiction

YA B                       Young Adult Biography

YA GN B                Young Adult Graphic Novel Biography


Adult Books

F                              Adult Fiction

123.4                      Adult Nonfiction

R 123.4                  Adult Reference

PB F                       Adult Paperback Fiction

PB 123.4               Adult Paperback Nonfiction

B                              Adult Biography

LP F                        Adult Large Print Fiction

LP 123.4                Adult Large Print Nonfiction

LP B                        Adult Large Print Biography


Videos

DVD F                     Adult Fiction DVDs  (Rated PG-13 & R)

DVD 123.4              Adult Documentary DVDs

J DVD F                  Children's Fiction DVDs  (Rated G & PG)

J DVD 123.4          Children's Educational DVDs

VC  F                        Adult Fiction Videocassettes 
(Rated PG-13 & R)

VC 123.4                 Adult Documentary Videocassettes

J VC F                      Children's Fiction Videocassettes 
(Rated G & PG)

J VC 123.4              Children's Educational Videocassettes

Audio Books

AC F                         Adult Fiction Audio Cassettes

AC 123.4                 Adult Nonfiction Audio Cassettes

CD F                         Adult Fiction Compact Discs

CD 123.4                 Adult Nonfiction Compact Discs