Have you ever walked into your local library and immediately felt lost? Where to start ? All libraries have their catalog of available materials organized slightly differently. At Latah County Library District, all of our materials are cataloged the same in every branch, making your search consistent across the county. Here is a brief overview of the categories in our system and how they are organized:
Adult non-fiction books, audio books and movies use “call numbers” which are placed on the spine of each item. Call numbers indicate the subject of the article. These call numbers are universal, known as the “Dewey Decimal System”, and are used in most public libraries in the United States. For example: individual biographies usually have a call number of 921. Thus, the biographies will be in the same shelving area with the number 921 and the first three letters of the subject’s last name. So a book by Helen Keller will look like “921 KEL” and will be organized alphabetically.
Adult fiction books and audio books will have a label on the back stating that it is fiction with an “FIC” and the author’s last name. Thus, a novel by James Patterson will look like: “FIC PATTERSON”.
We have collections for all ages, and our age-appropriate collections have similar labels to adult books. We have just added an additional indicator to facilitate the differentiation of age categories. Our young adult/adolescent spaces have “YA” in front of the call number and/or the “FIC” label. Our juvenile/primary school zones have a “JUV” in front of the call number and/or the “FIC” label. We also have entire sections in our libraries that are available for our young readers. Picture Books, Board Books and Beginner Chapter Books are all organized the same way as our adult books, but with a “JE” for Easy Juvenile and a “JB” for Beginner Chapter Books juveniles.
We can’t forget our paperback collections. These books will have a large capital letter on the spine of the book. This letter must indicate the surname of the author. So Nicholas Sparks paperbacks will have an “S” on the spine. These books are also listed in alphabetical order. Do you see a pattern? All materials in our collections will be on the shelf, left to right in numerical or alphabetical order.
Let’s take a look at our movie/DVD collections. This one is easy. All of our movies will have “DVD” or “Blu-ray” and then the first word of the movie title. For example: “Gone with the Wind” would look like: “DVD Gone”. Children’s movies will have a “JUV” indicator before “DVD”.
So what are those documents with red or yellow “NEW” stickers on the top of the spine? Those, my friends, are items that are new to the branch you are visiting. These books rotate regularly so that you often have access to new material. Keep an eye on this materials section, you will always find something new.
What’s the easiest way for you to find items you might be interested in? Well, find the nearest visible library worker and ask for it! Most of us will have a pretty good idea of where to look for your item and although we don’t necessarily know the collection by heart, we may be able to find it for you using our library catalog.
The Latah County Library District comprises seven branches in Latah County and is part of the Valnet Library Consortium. It is a group of 48 public and school libraries that share resources and an online catalog. The Valnet Library Catalog augments your material selections by providing resources from other Consortium Libraries that can be returned to any other Valnet Library. Do all these other libraries organize their collections in the same way as LCLD? No, they don’t. But most libraries use similar cataloging methods and have friendly, knowledgeable staff who can help you find specific topics or items. This is only a quick reference guide for using your Latah County libraries, check with your particular library to find the material you are interested in.
Davis is the branch manager of the Juliaetta Library.