The Reading Room contains Reference Materials such as atlases, almanacs, bibliographies,
dictionaries, concordances, indexes and research guides. The collection covers a wide range of
subjects and disciplines, with particular strength in Literature, Languages, Humanities and the
Social Sciences, including Library and Information Science.
These sources are can be of value whether you need to track down a citation, or want to browse something to get started on a research project.
We also have dozens of dictionaries, including languages like Turkish, Hebrew, Indonesian, and Navajo.
If you would like to browse the physical items by subject, but aren’t sure where to begin, here is a call number guide to help you get started:
Most books in the Reading Room are located in call number order along the wall. Call numbers begin with 001 on the west wall to the left (north) of the entrance, ending with 999 on the west wall to the right (south) of the entrance. View Map.
Below are answers to some of the most common questions about how to find books and other materials in the Reading Room.
If you know the title:
Step 1. Find the call number by using the online catalog. Items held in the Reading Room will be listed as Reference [non-circulating], or Government Documents [non-circulating].
Step 2. Find the location.
If location says..."Reference" ...the book is shelved along the wall of the Reading Room. Call numbers begin with 001 on the west wall to the left (north) of the entrance, ending with 999 on the west wall to the right (south) of the entrance. View Map. Large atlases are shelved in the atlas case to the left of the public access computer tables.
If you know the call number:
Begin with Step 2 above. Call numbers begin with 001 on the west wall to the left (north) of the entrance, ending with 999 on the west wall to the right (south) of the entrance. View Map.
Call numbers with "Q" (oversize) are shelved along the wall, integrated with the regular call number sequence.
Call numbers with "A" (bibliography) are the equivalent of 016 (e.g. A.050b778 = 016.050b778)
Call numbers with "B" (biography) are the equivalent of 920 (B = 920)
Call numbers with "C" (items related to the University of Illinois) are shelved between 378.999 and 379 (in the wall collection)
Government documents are housed on the North end of the Reading Room. These materials are shelved using the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification system, which groups together publications from the same Federal Agency. The SuDoc system was designed to group together publications from the same Federal agency. Each agency is assigned a specific letter or combination of letters--for example, NAS is used to represent materials published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The rest of a SuDoc number communicates specific information about the document including sub-agencies of the parent Federal agency, publication type, and publication year.
Examples of the types of materials you will find here include:
Some government documents are housed in the Main Stacks, so it is important to check the catalog record to locate specific items. In addition to US Federal documents, the collection also contains documents from the state of Illinois and around the world. Government Documents materials published prior to 1978, as well as publications from the State of Illinois, are shelved using the Dewey Decimal System.
The Stacks Reference Collection is located on the south side of Deck 5 in the Main Stacks, just inside the entrance to the stacks. The collection is building-use only, and a small working area for users has been set up along the south wall behind the collection. Titles in this collection currently experience low use but have enduring research value. Examples include national bibliographies and periodical indexes, the majority of which may be available online but without retrospective coverage or specific functionality (e.g., cross references) that the print copy offers.
We prefer that users leave the books on the tables or place them on a book truck. We make an exception for GSLIS students who can reshelve the books they use as a courtesy to their colleagues who may also need to use the same books.
No, all of the books in the Reading room are non-circulating and cannot be checked out or taken from the room.
There are two collections shelved on two of the tables along the Southeast wall of the Reading Room. The first of these are old copies of the UIUC phone directory. The second is a collection of serial lists, and Information Organization resources like the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and the 23rd edition of the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index.
The North end of the Reading Room used to house the Slavic Library, but that library is now part of the International and Area Studies Library which is located in room 321 of the Main Library. The Book Eye Scanner has moved with the Slavic Library.
The periodicals of the Literature and Languages Library are now shelved along the North end of the Reading Room. Inquires about that collection can be made to that library.
There is a regular sized flatbed scanner in the Reading Room. There are also overhead large format scanners, which requires a USB drive. USB drives are available to borrow at the Information Desk.
There is a microform reader in the Northeast corner of the Reading Room near the government documents.
Reference Librarians are available at the Information Desk almost all days of the week and also nights and weekends. Please ask them if you have any questions about locating items in the Reading Room. You can also ask a question online using the the Ask a Librarian service.