Skip to Main Content

First Year Seminar: Library Services & Resources Module: Module 1, part 2: Getting to know the library

This guide will help new students become oriented with library resources and services, as well as becoming acquainted with some research basics.

Library Organization

WVU Tech Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System, or LC for short, to organize it's collections. LC is an alpha-numeric system using letters and numbers in the call numbers. Call numbers are usually located on the spine of a book, and are used to help locate a book on the shelf.

According to the LC system, knowledge is organized by main classes and subclasses.

For example, items organized in the B main class are materials about Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion. Below, are a few more examples.To view the entire LC outline go to

C -     Auxiliary Sciences of History

D -     World History and History of Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

E-F -  History of the Americas

K -     Law

P -     Language and Literature

R -     Medicine

T -     Technology

Library Collections

  • Stacks: This is our main circulating collection and may also be referred to as the general collection. Books in this section can be checked out to students for two weeks and may be renewed for another two weeks.
  • Reserves or Textbook Checkout: The library has available a majority of the current textbooks for student use. These must be used in the library and are checked for two hours at a time. Books may be renewed for another two hours if a hold is not placed on the item by another student. You must have your Tech ID to check out reserve items. 
  • Reference: These are materials used for locating specific information on a topic, and are not usually read from cover to cover. Reference books cannot be checked out.
  • WV Reference or WV Ref: These are items used for locating specific information about a topic about West Virginia, or information about the culture, heritage, or people in the Appalachia region. 
  • WV Circ or WV Circulation: Books about the state and its people and heritage. Includes books authored by West Virginians, or  those associated with the mountain state or Appalachian region. These may be checked out for two weeks.
  • WV Rare: Books specific to West Virginia history and people. They are not located in the general area of the library. Please inquire at the library front service desk.
  • Rare: This is a collection of  general, rare books not located in the general area of the library. Please inquire at the library front service desk. 
  • DVD Videos: the library has a small collection of movies on DVD as well as interesting educational videos many of which belonged to MSU and were affiliated with courses taught at the time.

About Call Numbers

Call numbers help to locate a book in the library and on the shelf. Each book has a unique call number based on the Library of Congress Classification System, and shelved in order according to the call number. Below, the call numbers are in the order you would find them on the shelf. 

For example, books found under the main class P section are items that are classed under language and literature. When you break it down even further, books in the PA section are books on Greek and Latin language and literature. The first set of numbers are treated as whole numbers and PS55 comes before PS130. The second number is referred to as the cutter number and treated as a decimal. G284 comes before G38. *Add a zero at the end of G38 to help you understand why G284 comes before G38* In some cases, there are two cutter number lines for some books. The letter "G" in G284 or G38 may refer to the first letter in the title of the book or the author's last name.

Think of the call number as the book's address.











Research Databases

WVU Tech students, faculty, and staff currently have access to 297 WVU Databases. Access while on campus is IP Authenticated. Remote access requires the use of your Master ID username and password.

To browse Tech's A-Z databases list go to

Recommended databases for getting started:

Library Information Glossary