Find books (and other stuff) in the library

To find a specific book, movie, recording (or anything else in the library) search the Forbes Library Catalog or ask a librarian. The catalog will tell you what we own, and will give you the location and call number you need to find the book on the shelf.  Search tips and catalog help can be found on the C/WMARS help pages.


We try to shelve similar materials together. For example, you will find all our foreign language DVDs in one place, and all our graphic novels in another. Very roughly, you can expect to find children’s materials on the lowest level, fiction and many new books on the main floor, nonfiction on the mezzanine, and arts, music, and recreation on the second floor. For more details see our maps of the library.

Each section is referred to by a short name in the catalog. View a list of shelving locations and where to find them.

Call numbers

The books in Forbes Library are arranged in the Cutter Expansive Classification System, which was developed by Charles A. Cutter, the librarian at Forbes from 1894 to 1903.


  • YF means Fiction The fiction in Forbes Library is shelved by author’s last name, and then alphabetically by title.
  • A lower case j means Children’s. Call numbers beginning with a lowercase j correspond to material shelved in the Children’s Department.
  • When looking for books by their call number, it helps to know how to order Expansive Classification numbers.