What do the numbers and letters on the spine of books mean?
We call the numbers and letters on the spine of books "call numbers".
They help us to keep the library organized and know where to find the books! In the children’s department, you will see these letters and numbers:
JP – Junior Picture Book
JE – Junior Early Reader (Easy Read)
JF – Junior Fiction (stories)
JNF – Junior Non-Fiction (information and true stories)
JP, JE, and JF will also have extra letters:
JP WILL is a Junior Picture book by Mo Willems
JE ARNO is a Junior Early Reader by Tedd Arnold
JF KINN is a Junior Fiction book by Jeff Kinney
The extra letters are the first three or four letters of the author’s last name. The books are on the shelves in alphabetical order (ABC) by the author’s last name.
JNF will have numbers after the letters. The numbers are part of the Dewey Decimal System. A great book to explain the Dewey Decimal System is Do You Know Dewey?: Exploring the Dewey Decimal System. The Dewey Decimal System organizes all of the Junior Non-Fiction books by subject.
If you are looking for a book on how to draw, the numbers will be 743. The 7 stands for Arts & Recreation, the 4 stands for Drawing & Decorative Arts, and the 3 stands for Drawing & drawings by subject.
If you are looking for a book on sharks, the numbers will be 597. The 5 stands for Science, the 9 stands for Animals, and the 7 stands for Fish.
All of the books in the Junior Non-Fiction section are organized on the shelves in numerical order (123). There will also be letters for the author’s last name after the numbers. Because we have many books on each subject (how to draw, sharks, etc.) the first 3 or 4 letters of the author’s last name help us to find the specific book that we want. The letters are in alphabetical order (ABC) too.