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NYC School Librarian Guidebook: Call Numbers

Resources to examine our inherent bias, promote personal awareness, and help us build collections for our students that reflect themselves and the world around them.

Call Numbers

There is a standard for call number patterns. School libraries should mirror the public library as much as possible and use the Dewey Decimal System. We are providing our students with an opportunity to become lifelong learners. Lifelong learners use public or academic libraries. These call numbers are similar to those used by New York City public library systems. The Office of Library Services recommends the following as a default:

AUD = for cassettes or other audio materials

AV = for both audio and visual materials, especially the older formats, like slides, transparencies, filmstrips. If any of these materials are current enough to be retained in your library collection, use this call number prefix.

BIO = for individual biographies. Some may want to use 920s for collective biographies or put them in their Dewey subject category. NYC school libraries do not use 92 for individual biographies.

CD = for CD-ROM formats

DVD = for Digital Video Disc

Easy or E = for Easy Books or Early Readers. In elementary this is important. Middle and high schools may want to integrate these books into the regular collection using the appropriate call numbers to avoid insulting our struggling readers.

eBook = for electronic books

ESL = for English as a Second Language resources

FIC = for fiction books

KIT = for multiple formats in a box or bag

MAP = for map collections

MP3 = for electronic media in digital format

PROF = for professional collections

REF = for reference resources

SC = for story collections

PIC = for picture books which are not always easy and may be in middle or high school collections

PBK = for paperbacks

VID = for videos

Nonfiction books should be cataloged according to the Dewey Decimal system with the first three letters of author's last name.   

The default Dewey number for graphic novels is 741.5 (Comics).  OLS recommends you classify them under their Dewey subject classification (BIO, FIC, nonfiction number) but set the circulation type to Graphic Novel to run statistical reports.  Foreign language books should likewise be classified under their Dewey number with the circulation type as Spanish, French, Chinese books, etc.

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