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Find a Book @ Ellis Library

Books & eBooks Search

Limit Your Results

After you search and find a book in the catalog, you need three pieces of information to locate your material.

  1. Location: Which library the book is located
  2. Call number: Where the book is exactly on the shelves
  3. Status: Whether the book is available, checked out, or missing.

Ellis Library Call Number Finder

(WARNING: this will NOT work for other libraries on campus)

Input below the call number of a book at Ellis Library to receive a map and written directions to the book's location.

Thumbnail links to Addresses, Directions & Maps

Call Number:  


Find a Book Walkthrough - Searching by Title

1.) Start by going to the library's homepage.

2.) Click on the Books & Media tab or Classic Catalog (MERLIN).

Note: Both of these methods search the library catalog; however, MERLIN provides more search options.

3.) Start searching! More Information on Search Strategies

If more specificity is required, use the advanced search function.

For this example, we will search by title for the book "The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch's Lost Highway" by Slavoj Zizek.

By selecting "title"  and searching "the art of the ridiculous sublime" our search takes us directly to the catalog item and has the three pieces of information we need to find the book:

(1) Location, (2) Call number, and (3) Status.

Search by title walkthrough

Location (1)

  • tells us the book is in Ellis Library.

Call Number (2)

  • tells us exactly where it is.

Status (3)

  • tells us if it available.

More Information on Circulation Status Codes

Since the book is not checked out, write the call number down (or snap a photo), grab your MU ID and go to Ellis Library to retrieve the book.

If the book you want is at another library, or is currently checked out, click the Request button at the top left of the screen.
More information on Requesting Books

Reading Call Numbers

A call number is an address for books and other materials in the library.

The first one or two letters and several numbers at the beginning of the call number indicate which floor and section of the library the book is located. Below is a guide to help you understand how to interpret alphanumeric call numbers.

PN 1997.L735 Z59 2000 

    PN     1997     .L735 Z59       2000   



 .L735 Z59


Read letters in alphabetical order

e.g. P, PN, PQ...etc.


Read as a whole number

e.g. 1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 2000, 3000, 3400, 3485 ...

Read numbers as a decimal

Read letters in alphabetical order

e.g. A83 comes before A9

e.g. .C65 comes before .65 

e.g. C724 comes before .724

Year of publication

Read in chronological order

e.g. 1985, 1991, 1992..

 More information on call numbers.

Retrieving a Book

Since the call number of "The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime" begins with PN, you notice that the book is in 3 Central.

Video directions to 3 Central

Self-guided virtual tour

Once you find your way to 3 Central each shelf will be labeled with the a range of call numbers.

After you've found which shelf the book should be on, scroll the shelves by the first letters, then the numbers.

Now you've found your book, great! Take it to the circulation desk and check it out.

Suggestion: After you have found your book, look at the titles of the books to the left and right and see if anything jumps out at you. Since the books are shelved by subject, there's a great chance you could find something relevant.

Don't despair!

There are two more places the book could be if the status is displayed as "NOT CHECKED OUT". Shelving materials in a library that has so many books is a large, labor-intensive workflow and books don't immediately return to the shelves once patrons bring them back.

  1. Check the reshelving area in the floor/section you're browsing.
  2. If you still haven't found it, go to 4 East and talk to the shelving staff.


Triumphant and proud, take your book to the circulation/reserve desk.

Check out using your MU ID or guest borrower's card.