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How to Read Call Numbers

Perplexed about how to find the books and other material you need after you get the call number? This guide can help!

Step 1: Determine the Availability and Location

If you've searched the library catalog for a book, video, map, or most any other type of item, you will need to note two things -

1)  The availability and location of the item

2)  The call number

Available Books

When a book is checked in, available, and on the shelf at one of the WSU libraries, you will see a GREEN DOT:

You might also see a GREEN DOT with the phrase Onilne access. This means it is an eBook (accessible completely online). Click on Access Options and then the link for the database that holds the eBook. For more information on how to access these materials, click here to learn about downloading and printing chapters or sections, or click here to learn about checking out an entire eBook for offline reading.

Unavailable Books

When a book is not available, you will see a YELLOW DOT and the phrase Check Holdings:

 Check Holdings can mean one of several things:

  • The book is checked out
  • The book is missing or lost
  • The book is not located at a WSU library

You may be able to order the book through Summit (for delivery in 3-5 days), or Interlibrary Loan (for delivery in 1-2 weeks). You can see your request options by clicking on either the title or "Availability and Request Options." If Summit is your option, click on the Summit link and log in with your WSU ID (firstname.lastname). Fill out the requested information and you will receive an email when the book arrives. If Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is your option, click on the Interlibrary Loan link and login with your WSU ID to create an ILLiad account.

What Library has my Book?

The library location is listed directly after the availability statement. Below are some examples, but not all Pullman campus locations are represented. For more information on each library or collection at WSU, click here.

If you are not sure where to go, ask someone at one of the Pullman campus libraries.  If you need an item that is not on the Pullman campus, you may be able to request a copy of the item (see: Unavailable Books box at the bottom of this page).

Here are a few WSU-Pullman locations:

If you see that it is also available at "other locations," you can click on "Availability and Request Options" to see if it is located at a library more convenient for you.

Holland/Terrell Deweys are located in the basement of Terrell. For more information, click here.


Here are a few examples of non-Pullman WSU locations:

Requesting Material from other WSU Libraries

If a book is available at another campus library, you may request to have it sent to your primary campus. Under the material record, click on "Availability and Request Options" and then "Request Item." You will be prompted to login with your WSU ID (firstname.lastname) and to fill out and submit a form. The material should arrive within 5 days.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us