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Class of 2027: HC Libraries & You

Finding Print Books

What is a call number?

Libraries use call numbers to organize books on the shelves. A call number is an address for a book that tells you where the book is located on the shelf. Call numbers identify different subject areas, so books with similar call numbers will cover similar subjects. This way, when you find a book on the shelf, you know the books around it are on similar topics.

When you look up a book in CrossSearch or the Library Catalog, you will see the call number listed with the book details.

Image of a library catalog record with the call number outlined

A call number is made up of letters, whole numbers, decimals, a publication date, and maybe a volume or copy number. The video below explains how to read call numbers on the shelves.

Where in the library is my book?

If the call number
begins with....
Go to: 
A - G Dinand Stacks, Mezzanine (Upper) Level
H - L  Dinand Stacks, Ground (Lower) Level
M Music Library
N, TR Dinand Visual Arts Wing, Main Level
P Dinand Stacks, Ground (Lower) Level
Q - T Science Library
U - Z Dinand Stacks, Ground (Lower) Level

Oversize Books

If a book is listed as being located in one of the following locations...

Dinand Library Oversize
Music Library Oversize

OR, if the call number includes a plus sign (+) -- for example, B2294 +G34 2011 --, it means that the book is taller than normal and had to be stored separately, in the oversize section. Oversize books are located at the end of each letter section. For example, you would find the call number above between the 'normal' B section and the start of the C section. Some call numbers have a ++, and will be found between the + section and before the start of the next letter section. There is no oversize section in the Science Library. 


To see our online journals, visit the EJournals Search.

Recent journals and newspapers in print are located in the Dinand Main Reading Room.
These are organized A-Z on the left side of the Main Reading Room (opposite the patio). 

The Science Library keeps new journals (unbound, single issues of journals published in the current calendar year) organized A-Z in the front (East) end of the library. Older issues are bound together into hard cover volumes. These bound journals, as well as single issues of journals published previously to the current year, are located in the back (West) end of the Science Library.

Recent periodicals in the Music Library are stored A-Z on the periodical shelf, for easy reading. Back issues of each journal are stored behind the displays. 

At Holy Cross, we organize our books using a system called Library of Congress Classification or LCC. LCC is based on the subject of the books. Each letter represents a specific subject. Each subject is broken down into more specific letter sections, each of which is further broken down into number ranges for specific topics. For example: 

  • P is the area for languages and literature, and has subsections from PA to PZ covering the study of language and the literature of different languages and cultures. 
  • PR is the section for English language literature. 
  • PR750 to PR890 is the number range for English prose literature.

You will also see extra numbers and letters on the end of most call numbers, which are based on things like the author’s name. We use these to give each book a unique spot on the library shelves. The chart below shows the different subject areas, followed by an example of what the call number looks like on a specific book.


Library of Congress Classification Areas


Philosophy, Psychology & Religion

Archaelogy, Genealogy, etc.
World History
General History of Americas & U.S.

Local History of Americas & U.S. 
Geography & Anthropology


Social Sciences
Political Science
Fine Arts
Languages & Literatures

Military Science
Naval Science
Information Science

Image of a book spine with the call number highlighted


Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century 

by Warren I. Susman.  
Dinand E169.1 .S9733 1984 [see it in CrossSearch!]






Subject (General U.S. History) 

Author (Susman) 

Publication date

For more details about Library of Congress Classification, please see the Library of Congress' Classification Outline.

The shelves where library books are located are called the "stacks."

If someone tells you to look in the stacks for a book, they mean to check the bookshelves!

Map of Dinand Library stacks

Download a map of the Dinand Library stacks

Image of books with call numbers

  1. Books are arranged alphabetically by the first letter or letters, then numerically by the number following the letter(s).
  2. If the first letter and number combination is the same, then shelve alphabetically by the next letter and in decimal order by the following number. Ex  - B3.C3 1990 comes before B3.D4 1990
  3. The last line of the call number often represents the year of publication. 

Finding EBooks

Searching for EBooks - CrossSearch

To search for ebooks at Holy Cross, use CrossSearch. You can search by the title of a book or search for specific subjects or keywords. Once you've entered your search, use the search filters on the left side of the page. Click on "More Limits," then under "Resource Type," select "eBooks." This will refresh your results to show books we provide online access to.

Resource Type list with eBooks selected

EBook Collections

Holy Cross also subscribes to collections of ebooks. To see what is available in these collections, visit our list of Holy Cross EBook Collections. When searching within a specific ebook collection, you will be able to search the full text of each book allowing more detailed searching. For example, you may search the library catalog and not find any titles on your topic, but a search in an ebook collection might find a book with one chapter focused on your topic.

Accessing EBooks

In most cases, your best option is to use the "Read Online" feature for our ebooks. Most academic ebooks do not work with devices that you might use to read personal ebooks, such as a Kindle or Nook. There is software that you can download onto a PC or iPad, but this can be difficult to use, so if you have a stable internet connection, we recommend reading online. 

However, if you would like to download the software, or if you are having trouble accessing any particular ebook, please feel free to contact us ( or see our EBooks Guide.

NOTE that most ebooks have limits on printing. Each publisher has different functionality and rules for downloading and printing ebooks. 

Course Reserves

Did your professor mention a reading being "on reserve" at the library? 

Course reserves are books and other materials that a professor asks the library to have available for students in their class. They are kept separate from the main collection and are available for everyone in a class to check out and use in the library.

There are two different kinds of course reserves: 
  • Print Reserves (usually books, CDs, or DVDs) can be checked out from the Circulation Desk of the library where the material is located (Dinand, Science, or Music). Books and other materials are put on print reserve so that everyone in a class or a group of classes can be ensured equal access to them. 

  • Electronic Reserves can usually be found on the Moodle or Canvas page for your course and might include scans from books as well as links to online books, articles, films, and/or audio. These are materials that your professor has pulled for you ahead of time so that you don't have to locate them on your own. 

Finding Items on Reserve: 
  • Books etc. on print reserve will be listed in CrossSearch (the library search tool) as located on Dinand Reserve, Science Reserve or Music Reserve. You can also browse the Course Reserves List to look up a specific course, instructor, or department.

  • To check out a course reserve, visit the Circulation Desk in the library where the book is located. In Dinand Library, the Circulation Desk is in the main lobby. In the Science Library and the Music Library, the Circulation Desk is near the entrance to the library.

  • Tell the person at the desk that you are looking for a course reserve. If you know the title of the book, tell them the title. If you don't know the title, you can give your professor's last name or the course number and they will help you find what you need.

Using Items on Reserve: 
  • Reserve materials can only be used in the library where they are kept, but you can take them anywhere within that library space. To borrow Reserve materials, you will need your Holy Cross ID.

  • The loan period is 3 hours. Please try to return the reserve materials on time, so that other students in your class can use them as well. Keep in mind that you can always renew the item and get another 3 hours added on to your time (as long as no one else is waiting for the item).

First-Year Reading

First-Year Reading in the Library

Every year, the dean of the first-year class selects a common text for students to read and reflect on as you start your Holy Cross experience. The first-year reading for the Class of 2027 is Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. There is a copy of the book available on reserve in Dinand Library. To check it out, visit the Dinand Library circulation desk and ask for the title. Reserve books can be checked out for three hours at a time and must remain in the library building.

Visit the First-Year Reading website for more information.

Note: The Library does not manage the first-year reading. All questions about the first-year reading should be directed to the Class of 2027 Dean, whose contact information is listed at the website above.

Boston Public Library eCard

All Massachusetts residents, including people who attend school in Massachusetts, can register for a free eCard through the Boston Public Library. This eCard gives you access to the Boston Public Library's online resources, including e-books and audiobooks through OverDrive and Hoopla. 

Visit the Boston Public Library website to sign up for your eCard today!

Worcester Public Library / ARC Card

As a Holy Cross student, you can receive an ARC (Academic and Research Collaborative) library card that allows you to use a number of different libraries in and around Worcester, including the Worcester Public Library. Visit the Dinand Library circulation desk to get your ARC card.

You can see a full list of libraries that accept ARC cards here.