How Do I Find a Book?

You might already be familiar with how to find items in a library, as lots of people are. However, if you’re new to libraries or just to your Rowan County Public Library, navigating the shelves could be a skill you still need to learn (or refresh!). That’s totally fine! Not every library is the same, so this page tells you how RCPL works. You can also find quick answers to these questions on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

There are four different kinds of libraries: Academic (like Camden-Carroll at MSU), public (like us), school (like at Rowan County Senior High School), and special (like our own Kentucky Room). We’re a public library (as it says in our name), so we focus on serving everyone in our community and the surrounding area, providing information, education, and entertainment services as well as loaning out materials like books and video games. Your taxes, donations, and volunteer support help us to do what we do. That means our collection is organized for your convenience, based upon how you use the library.

The first, and usually the fastest, method for finding something specific on our shelves is to check our catalog. You can do this from here on our website, through our Librista app on iOS or Android, or at one of our public access catalog computer kiosks inside the building. Those kiosks are located

  • beside the large print section
  • at the end of the nonfiction section
  • and in the children’s area, beside the study rooms.

An item’s entry in the catalog shows how many copies we have and whether they’re currently checked in or out, so you know either to go looking for it or to place on reserve for a later checkout. Once you know if we’ve got it, you can search the shelf for it (or ask any library staff member to help you out). Our collection is divided into sections so that you can be sure to find particular things in the same area every time.

  • Nonfiction materials (including audiobooks and Playaways) are shelved using the Dewey Decimal classification system. You can learn more about Dewey herehere, or here!
  • Fiction materials (including audiobooks and Playaways) and biographies are shelved in alphabetical order by author or editor’s last name, and then by series order or title.
  • Music is shelved in alphabetical order by artist, and then by series order or album title.
  • Movies are shelved in alphabetical order by title.
  • Video games are shelved by system and then alphabetically by title.
  • Periodicals are shelved in alphabetical order by publication title, with back issues in chronological order by publication date.

Here’s a basic map of these areas, so you can find them inside the building:

RCPL floorplan of material locations