University Library at St. Cloud State University

Academic Research - Introduction to the University Library

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Assignments for Module 1
Upon review of this module, complete the following activities:
  1. Complete the Library of Congress Call Number and Shelving Tutorial and all three practice tests from Kent State University Libraries.
  2. Explore the Library website and come to class with one thing you liked on the website and one thing that was difficult or confusing.
St. Cloud State University Library
SCSU Library Photos
The St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Library is located in the James W. Miller Learning Resources Center. Opened in August 2000, the library collects online and print materials for all disciplines and programs of the university and provides services for students, faculty, staff, and community members in Central Minnesota.
  • The library collection consists of 2.767 million print and non-print items.
  • There are 570,000+ books and 1.9 million units of microform, including federal and state documents.
  • The collection also contains nearly 1,000 print and more than 15,000 electronic periodical (journal) subscriptions.
  • Other resources include: 1,500 maps, and 26,000 non-print items (computer software, compact discs, videotapes, DVDs, streaming music and video, etc.).

Building Maps and Locations
SCSU: Explore Your Library
The Library Website
SCSU Library website screenshot

The Library's website is the gateway to all resources and services available to you for your research and other course assignments including:
  • Books, journals, magazines, videos, and other resources
  • Research assistance from librarians
  • Writing tutors
  • Fully equipped student study rooms

We will be exploring the Library website in detail throughout this class. In the meantime, click around and explore what's available to you as a student at St. Cloud State University.
Library of Congress Call Numbers
The St. Cloud State University Library uses the Library of Congress (or LC) Call Number System to organize its physical items. This is a system used by most academic libraries and very large public libraries. Using this system, librarians assign call numbers to each item in the library. Some points to keep in mind:
  • LC call numbers are used to bring together items on the same subject, allowing people to browse the shelves for materials they might not otherwise find.
  • Academic libraries primarily provide materials that support the curriculum, or what is taught and studied at the college or university, while public libraries provide more popular and recreational materials.
  • In the Library of Congress system, fiction books are organized according to country and author, with books about the author, criticism of the author's works, and the works of fiction themselves all shelved next to each other (see Class P: Language and Literature). This is different from the Dewey Decimal System used at many public and school libraries.

Below is a list of the main categories within the LC Call Number System. These categories represent different areas of study or academic disciplines. Books and other items about these topics will have call numbers that start with the appropriate letter.
  • Under each letter, the broad academic disciplines are broken down into "subclasses" or more specific topics.
  • For a more thorough description of the classification scheme and subclasses, visit the Library of Congress Classification Outline.

How to Read LC Call Numbers to Locate Books

When you search for books, videos, or other materials in the library catalog (MnPALS), you find information about each item. This information is displayed in what's called a "record." For instance, a record for a book looks like this:

To find the book, you must look for it in the library using its Call Number and its location. In our example, we can see that the item is Available and is in the Main Collection - Basement. The call number, LC67.62 .M58 2010, translates to...
  • Subclass LC -- “Special aspects of education” -- Shelved in alphabetical order
  • 67.62 -- “Social aspects of education. Economic aspects of education.” -- Shelved numerically as a whole number, sometimes with a decimal
  • .M58 -- (a.k.a. the Cutter line) author’s last name, “Mullen” -- Shelved alphabetically by the letter, then numerically as a decimal
  • 2010 -- the year the book was published -- Shelved in chronological order

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