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Search the Catalog

Learn how to locate, borrow, renew, and request books and audiovisual materials

About the catalog

The library catalog allows you to search books, books on CD, and DVDs owned by the library, plus the collections of most other NC community colleges.

Use it to find out what's available, locate items on the shelf, renew checked-out items, and request books from other libraries.

Tips for effective searches

  • Keep it simple! Remember, you're searching descriptions of books, not all the text in them.
  • Check your spelling. Typos aren't corrected automatically.
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases
    Example: "united states"
  • Use AND to narrow searches – results must contain both terms
    Example: nuclear AND energy
  • Use OR to broaden searches – results can contain either term
    Example: poems OR poetry
  • Use NOT to clarify searches – any record containing the term directly after NOT will be excluded
    Example: cellular NOT phones
  • Search with root words using the symbol $
    Example: teac$ will find "teach," "teachers," "teaching," etc.
  • Use ? to indicate an unknown letter
    Example: wom?n finds "woman" and "women"

Finding items from the catalog

An item's catalog record will contain a location, such as:

  • New Books – recent acquisitions near the front of the library
  • Reference – encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other books for in-library use, found on the low shelves in the middle of the library
  • General Collection – circulating books on the tall shelves and in the fiction room
  • Videos – DVDs across from the magazines by the windows

Organized by subject

Once you know an item's location, use its call number to track it down. Books and DVDs are sorted by subject using alphanumeric call numbers (assigned based on the Library of Congress Classification system). For instance, call numbers starting with E are given to titles about American history; call numbers from E 456 to E 655 address the Civil War. Some call numbers start with letter pairs – for example, Q is used for the sciences, QB for astronomy, QD for chemistry, etc.

You do not need to memorize the classification system! To browse for a particular subject, see the green "Find It" posters in the library.

Learn more about call numbers below.

How to use call numbers

Read a call number piece by piece, left to right, to locate an item.

For example, the catalog record for Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games catalog record gives its call number as PZ 7 .C6837 Hun 2009. There is a corresponding label on the book's spine:

Depicts spine label: PZ
7
.C6837
Hun
2009
  1. Find the aisle with P (language and literature) call numbers. Call numbers are arranged alphabetically, so Ps come between N and Q items.
  2. Look for the set of PZ call numbers, again alphabetically. This section starts at P, then PA, PB, all the way through PZ. So PZ call numbers are at the end of the section.
  3. Once you're looking at PZs, focus on the next part, the number. PZ 7 will come after any PZ 1, PZ 2, etc., books and before PZ 8 books.
  4. Next, consider the letter (which follows a period) – these sort alphabetically again: PZ 7 .B, PZ 7 .C, PZ 7 .D.
  5. Numbers immediately after this letter, however, are treated as decimals. So the following call numbers are in the correct order:
    PZ 7 .C67759PZ 7 .C6837PZ 7 .C729
  6. Other information after the period may include the year of publication and volume number.

Once you're close enough, you can usually spot the title on the book's spine. Can't find something? It might be on display or recently returned, so feel free to ask a staff member for help.

Looking for a call number between PS 3500 and PT 9999?

They're shelved in the "fiction room" in the back, by the study rooms.

This range includes 20th- and 21st-century American literature (except young adult titles); German, Dutch, and Scandinavian literature; and related nonfiction (author biographies, literary criticism, etc.).

All websites, articles, images, videos, etc., linked on this site are provided for informational purposes only. External content is not maintained by James Sprunt Community College, nor does it represent the views of the College or its employees. Please notify the library staff if you have concerns about linked content. Students are expected to evaluate all web and print resources and to determine their appropriate academic uses. A hyperlink to a resource or article from these LibGuides does not constitute an endorsement of that resource or article by the library.

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