LOC Confusion

I feel humbled and a little stupid by the fact that I don’t know my way around the library that I have spent over sixteen years in.   The other day I was trying to help a patron find a book on the 4th floor.  The LOC call number started out as “QH 54”.   Our 4th floor is a mess due to a restroom flood that happened during summer (more on that in the future).  At least six shelves of books are completely bare and six more have the bottom two shelves removed.  All the books went to a room on the 1st floor.   Anyway, I looked with the patron for the book and all we could find were the “QH 542’s”.  I thought maybe the “QH 54” were in the room with the removed books.  I had a staff worker at circulation go with us and we looked in the room.  Still we could not find it.

Turns out I was thinking incorrectly.  I was thinking that the “54” was a not a numerical number but some sort of coded string.  In other words, I did not think that “QH 54” would come before “QH 542” because I did not think of “54” as the number 54 and “542” as the number 542.  Fail!  We went back to 4th floor and the circulation staff worker found the correct shelf and book immediately.   I really thought that an earlier book would have been labeled “QH 054”.

The lesson learned is that I have a lot to learn about classification and library science.  But hey, that is why I am enrolled in an LIS program.  Learning classification and MARC are definitely two concepts that I want to improve in.


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