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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Africana Studies


Open Book with Letters and Numbers flying out of it

Books Provide:

Dedicated treatment

Historical overview

Background information

Single view or opinion



Finding Books

Use OneSearch to find both print and electronic books in John Jay's Lloyd Sealy Library as well as other CUNY libraries.  The search box can be found on our library's homepage.  Click on the image below:


To search for books only, you may want to limit your search by clicking inside the circle to the left of Books (see above) although it is not necessary.  You may also limit your search to books once you have retrieved a list of relevant sources.

Search for a particular book using the exact title or author, or a combination of distinctive words from each to determine if our library owns the exact book you want.  If we do not own that title, click here for information on getting books from other CUNY campus libraries through CLICS.

To search for books on a specific subject, type in keyword(s) and/or phrase(s) which best describe your topic.  Broaden or narrow your search if you're dissatisfied with your results.

Click on the title of those books you find relevant.

For print books:  write down the CALL NUMBER and LOCATION of the books you wish to find in the library.  Books are organized according to their location and call number:

Reference  (2nd floor, top level)

Reference Law (2nd floor, south side of building near bound periodicals)

Stacks  (books that circulate, see below)

Call number beginning with A-H are on the 2nd floor

Call number beginning with J-Z are on the 1st floor

Reserve (1st floor, Reserve desk)

For electronic booksPlease remember, not every book is digitized!  We do have a large collection of ebook titles and ebook collections available remotely (from your home or work computer, phone, etc.). 

If a book is available electronically, you will see a Available online link in OneSearch.  Use your John Jay email username (firstname.lastname) and password to login once you are taken to the book's database site.

To set up your John Jay email account or if you are experiencing difficulties with your John Jay email username and password, go to to set up and/or change your password.  If you are still experiencing problems, contact the DoIt Helpdesk at 212.237.8200 for further assistance.  

(Please keep in mind, as a general rule, electronic books owned by specific CUNY libraries other than John Jay are most probably only available to John Jay students onsite--within that owning library using their computers.  Ebooks marked CUNY should be available online to all CUNY students.)

Please see our Ebooks library guide for more information for finding and using electronic books.

Library of Congress Call Numbers

It may be helpful to use official Library of Congress headings when researching specific issues related to Africana Studies, specific topics, histories and geographic locations.* You may also browse the shelves under some of the following Library of Congress call numbers to find books: 

BL 2400 – 2490: African Religions

BP 64: Islam in Africa

BR 563: African Americans--Religion

BR 1360 – 1470: Christianity in Africa

BV 3500 – 3630: Missions in Africa

DT:  African History and Culture

E441-453: Slavery, Antislavery Movements

E 184 - E 185: African Americans

E 184.C27: Caribbean Americans  

E 185.86 African American Men  

GR 350 – 360: African Folklore

HT 601 - HT 1595: Class, Race, Slavery (general)

JQ 1870 – 3981: Political Institutions and Public Administration in Africa

LC 2699-2913: Education of African Americans 

LG 401 – 681: Educational Institutions in Africa

N 6538.N5: African American Art  

NX 512.3.A35: African American Arts

PL 8000 – 8844: African Languages and Literature

PN 1995.9 N4: African Americans in Motion Pictures 

PR 9205 - 9339: Caribbean and Diaspora literature, not the United States

PR 9340 – 9408: African Literature in English

PS: American Literature, including African American authors


*In their article, Browsing through Bias: The Library of Congress Classification and Subject Headings for African American Studies and LGBTQIA Studies, Howard and Knowlton assert that Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) present some disadvantages for researchers in African American Studies (and LGBTQIA studies) due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field and the persistent bias and hierarchical classification inherent in the system.

How to read a call number

Books on a Library Shelf

Every book has a unique Library of Congress call number. Think of the call number as the address of the book, in that it tells us exactly where, on the shelves, we can expect to find a particular book. Books are arranged alphanumerically on the shelves--first alphabetically, then numerically--by call number. 

For instance:

HA          Alphabetical by letter(s)
1625      All HA books shelved in numerical order
.O87       Further ordered alphanumerically by letter then decimal
1999      Year of publication


Four books, HA 100..., HA 1625..., HQ 16..., HV 2000...


The four books above are in the correct order.

See the complete list of Library of Congress subject classes and subclasses here:

Book Locations

Books in the Library are organized according to location and call number.


Reference  (2nd floor, top level)

Reference Law (2nd floor, south side of building near bound periodicals)

Stacks  (books that circulate, see below)

Call number beginning with A-H are on the 2nd floor

Call number beginning with J-Z are on the 1st floor

Reserve (1st floor, Reserve desk)

Call number:

Every book in the Library has a unique call number. Check out How to read a call number to find out how call numbers work.

Books are in ALPHANUMERICAL order (alphabetical by letter then by number)