Call Numbers and Request an Item

Leanne Wells

What’s a Call Number?

Every item in our libraries has a unique call number. Call numbers appear in the catalogue AND on the spine of every book. Essentially a call number is the shelf address for each book/item in our libraries.

UNB Libraries, like many academic libraries in North America, uses the Library of Congress Classification System to assign call numbers to each item. This alphanumeric system uses a combination of letters and numbers to organize materials by subject.

Below is an example of a Call Number for a book from our UNB WorldCat catalogue:


Screen shot of a call number and its location in the HIL stacks.
Call number example for the book, Tap Dancing to Work.


If you link to the Library of Congress Classification System, you’ll notice that the first section of the call number represents the general subject of the book:

H = Social Science  More specifically, HG = Finance

The letter-and-decimal section of the call number often represents the author’s last name. The last section of a call number represents the date of publication.

If the library catalogue notes the item as Checked Out, it means that someone has borrowed the book. It also shows the due date when the item will be returned to the library.

While students don’t need to learn the Library of Congress system, it’s important to know what a Call Number is and how to locate a book or journal using the library Locations Guide and Floor Plans.

Requesting Library Items

When you place a request for items from the UNB Libraries collection, library staff will collect the items and email you when they are ready for you to pick up from the main service desk at your designated library. Below are the steps to request an item:

As an example, let’s say you’re interested in locating the book title: Insane mode : how Elon Musk’s Tesla sparked an electric revolution to end the age of oil. Below are a few images that explain the process more fully:

Screenshot of a title search for a book in the UNB Libraries' catalogue.
Title search in UNB WorldCat on the book, Insane Mode.

Once you’ve located the title, open the full UNB WorldCat catalogue record as you see below:

Screenshot of the full record for a book in the UNB Libraries' catalogue.
Record for the book title, Insane Mode, in UNB WorldCat.

Screenshot of where the "Request Item" button is located on an item record in the catalog.
Where to locate the “Request Item” button on an item record to place a Hold.


Select the red Request Item button shown above. Once you login, information from the catalogue record will populate the request form automatically. Complete the form by submitting your UNB email and pick-up details for the designated library. UNB Libraries staff will locate the item and contact you by email when it is ready for pick up.

Need Help?

Having trouble locating a Call Number or want to learn more about the library’s Request Service? No problem! Contact library staff using Ask Us, the library’s online chat service (circled below). We welcome students who reach out to library staff and librarians for assistance.

Screenshot of where to locate the Ask Us service for assistance.
Where to locate the Ask Us service for research assistance on the library website.

Self Check


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Business Information Skills Certificate (BISC): Research Guide Copyright © 2023 by Leanne Wells is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book