Skip to Main Content

Garden City School Library: FICtion Call Numbers

Essential Question

How do fiction call numbers work?

Lesson 1 - Introduction

  • Introduction: Remind the kids that the library collection is divided into sections, and each section has its own call number. Ask them to define "call number" and explain how they are created for the E section. Let them know that we're going to take a look at the fiction section; now that they're getting older and reading longer books, they need to know how to find titles on the shelf.
  • Group Activity: Place 6-10 fiction titles on each table, making sure that they all have call numbers using the current convention of FIC ABC. Have the students look at the books and see if they can figure out how fiction call numbers are created. Do some practice call numbers on the whiteboard (e.g., me, the principal, their classroom teacher). 
  • Assessment: Give each student a copy of the worksheet below; their assignment is to create the call numbers for seven books. When they are done, they bring the paper to you to review. If it's correct, they get a call number to find on the shelf (see attachment ... use authors who are prolific!). If it's not correct, they need to fix it. Common errors are using the first three letters of the first name or the author's initials. Anyone who doesn't get a chance to find a book on the shelf today can look for one during checkout next week. 

    3 = all correct 

    2 = has mistakes that make sense and are corrected

    1 = has mistakes that make no sense and/or are not corrected

    3 = finds correct call number on shelf

    2 = finds book with call number that at least starts with the correct letter (e.g., DEA instead of DIT)

    1 = book not found


Lesson 2: You Be the Author

  • Introduction: Remind the students that the FIC section of the library is organized in alphabetical order by author’s last name, using the first three letters of that last name. Hold up several books, read off the title and author, and ask the kids to figure out what the call number would be.
  • Activity: Explain to the kids that they will now create their own book cover. Their covers (template below) must contain three elements:

- Title (it must be fictional; it can't be factual)
- Their full name as author
- Their FIC call number on the spine

Ideally, they will also draw an illustration.

  • Assessment:

4 = All three required elements appear, in addition to exceptional creativity

3 = All three required elements appear: fictional title, author's full name, and correct call number

2 = One required element missing

1 = Two or more required elements missing

Standards Addressed

AASL: I.B.3 - Generating products that illustrate learning; IV.B.4 - Organizing information by priority, topic, or other systematic scheme

RI Core: RI.3.4 - Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area; W.3.4 - Produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; M7: Look for and make use of structure

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Use a method of communication to present ideas; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Identify relevant information/data from resources and analyze patterns and trends to identify relationships

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Priority Skills: 1.1 - Identifies major areas of the library (e.g., Dewey areas; genre areas) and what main topics are included in each