Understanding CPL Call Numbers Part 1

When you think of libraries, you usually think of books. Lots of books. And you wonder how there could be so many housed in one building. And how you can find where one particular book is located. And now there is so much more than books. There are fiction and nonfiction books. Hardcover and paperback books. Small “trade paperback” books. Large print books. Children’s and teenagers’ books. And books on CD. And DVDs. And blu-ray movies. And music CDs. It’s enough to be intimidating to the causal library user.

Well, fear no more. In the next few installments of “Understanding CPL Call Numbers,” I am going to give you a brief thumbnail sketch of the call number system used by CPL (Chesapeake Public Library), which will hopefully take the mystery out of navigating call numbers. In this first installment, though, I am going to spend a little time defining a few terms that will enable the rest of the installments to make more sense. In the installments to follow, I will give you more detail about the letters and numbers as they relate to fiction and nonfiction, children and young adult materials, and audio-visual materials.  With this guide in hand, then, you will be armed with all you need to be able to find any item on any shelf in any Chesapeake Public Library!

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