How to Read a Library Card Catalog

Libraries mostly had card catalog system by which a person can easily find the book they desire. Despite many libraries replacing this system with a computerised one, some libraries still use the card catalog system for finding books.

Cards are arranged in alphabetical order and people can search their desire books according to the title, author or subject.

Things Required:

– Card catalog
– Scrap paper
– Pencil or pen


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    Types of searches

    You can search the book you are looking for by either seeking the title, the author name or the subject. If you are looking for the title then the chosen card will also give information about the author and subject of your desire book. This is important for cross-referencing so that you pick the right book.

    If you are seeking a book on pets in the subject cards then you will also find cards on every pet book the library has.

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    Finding the card you require

    In case you are seeking a card by looking at the author name then you need to see for the last name of the author. If you are seeking for a book written by J.K Rowling then find the drawer that have Ro written.

    In some cases the drawers may have more than one letter cards e.g. Rowling’s book maybe found in drawer labelled Ri-Rr.

    If you are searching the book according to the title name then it can be conducted in similar manner e.g. Harry Potter book may be found in Ha card drawer.

    Subject cards are also searched in similar manner e.g. you are looking for a book about pets then you have to seek the card from Pe card drawer.

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    How to read the card

    If you are searching the drawer for an author card then you will see a call number on top of the author card. You will see the author’s last name first and the book’s subject and a short summary will also be written. If the author has more than one book then you will see cards of each book which is present in the library.

    At the top left side of the card, you will see first three letters of the author’s last name and numbers. You write down this call number and then search for your desire book.

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