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Student Guide to the Library: Doing Research - Books

A guide to library services for students

How do I find a book?

The first step in finding books in the Moorpark College Library is to check the library catalog. You may look up books by keyword, subject, author, or title. The catalog is available via the Moorpark College Library's homepage and also via the "Library Learning Resources" tab on the website. Be sure to note the call numbers for the books so you can locate them in the building.

What is a call number?

A call number is a series of letters and numbers which is unique for each book/resource.  It is by this series of letters and numbers that the library’s collection is arranged, for example, PR1580 .J33 1994.

The collection is arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification System, used by most college, university, and research libraries.  The first part of the call number is generally a letter or letters of the alphabet; these letters refer to broad subject areas in the collection.  For books and other resources in the Main Collection (books that can be checked out or "circulating books"), call numbers beginning with A through HN are located on the main (2nd) floor, and call numbers HQ through Z are located on the top (3rd) floor.  Should you need help locating materials or using the facilities, please ask for assistance at the Reference Desk or the Circulation Desk.

Sometimes special locations are noted in the catalog, such as:

Reference – Materials that do not check out.  These books are shelved in the Reference area, located in the middle of the 2nd floor.

Topics Table – A collection of books on current topics offering pro and con essays and arguments.  These are Reference books and cannot be checked out.  They are located on the curved counter to the right of the Reference Desk.

Special Collections – Materials which are delicate, particularly valuable, or irreplaceable.  These are kept behind the Circulation Desk and may be checked out.

Popular Films – These are shelved by category and are located behind Room 210. They may be checked out.

Oversized – Materials too large to fit on the regular shelves.  These items occupy tall shelving following the Z call numbers on the 3rd floor.


What are Reference Books?

Reference books are designated in the catalog by “Reference Collection” and by “Ref” printed above the call number on the spine of the book. These materials are shelved in the Reference area in the middle of the 2nd floor.  Reference books do not check out and must be used in the library building.  Generally speaking, Reference materials are designed to be consulted rather than read cover to cover.  The Reference Collection includes general and specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, primary source collections, literary criticism, etc. Some Reference materials are available online from the library’s eResources webpage.