You’re back from Spring Break, and it’s time to hit the ground running. You’ve looked in the catalog and found some e-books and some print books that you want to look through. But why aren’t the print books on the #$%!! shelf?

What was the LOCATION of your item?

  • Check the catalog record. If it says “Gen Ref,” “Sci Ref” or “On Reserve,” (all prefaced by “Eisenhower”) you’re in luck. Verdict: It’s in the MSEL building, so you can look at it right now. Gen Ref is on M-level, Sci Ref  is on C, and you can check out Reserves at Circulation.
  • If it’s located at another JHU library or at the Library Services Center, you’ll need to click the “request” button. Verdict: It will be at MSEL tomorrow.

Check the call number again — does it have the word QUARTO in it?

“Quarto” signifies that it’s bigger than the other books, so it’s at the end of the call number. For example, the QD200 that you want will not be in the QD200’s — keep walking, past the QD300s, 400s, 800s, 900s, etc. At the very end of the QDs, and right before the QE’s, you’ll see some big QD books with the word “quarto” on the spine. That’s how it works throughout the library. (Please tell your friends!) Um, with the exception of the Ns on D-Level. Those art book quartos are interfiled with the regular size books. What can we say? We like to keep you on your toes.
Where is the quarto book in this example? It’s in the “stacks,” which means the regular shelves, not reference or some other place. And it’s not checked out. Oh, wait, that’s because it’s “non-circ,” so it can’t be checked out.

Where else might it be?

  • Try the staging area. On floors B-D, above the main aisle is a big sign that says “STAGING AREA.” That’s where the books are that are waiting to be shelved. You are allowed to walk in there and look for your book, and take it out if you find it.
  • Is the book dated 2012? Try looking on the new books shelves on M and on C.
  • Does the call number start with P? Your book could be in one of two places on D Level — make sure to notice whether or not the catalog says “Eisenhower D Level Blue Labels.” (If so, your book is on the shelves with the blue end panels.)

So the quick-and-easy lesson on how to find the book you want is to read the catalog entry carefully, and look in the staging area or new books shelves if you’ve looked everywhere else.

You can always ask any staff member to help, too!


One thought on “Incredibly Helpful Hints

  1. Thanks for these tips, Sue! They’re some of the most common questions I get at the Info Desk. 9 times out of 10, “I can’t find this book” turns out to be it’s in the LSC or on Reserve.

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