"Where can I find book number 285?"
The boy's face was so earnest and so excited.
"What book are you looking for?" I asked.
"Book number 285."
"Is that the title of the book?"
"No, it's the book's number. The title is 'Quick and Easy Cooking'".
"You want a book about cooking?"
"Ok, I'll show you where those are."
I walked him over to the kids' cooking section. "These are all the cooking books for kids. You can look through these books, or if you want a specific book, we can ask at the desk."
"I already know the book! Book number 285!"
Hmm. I stood for a few moments considering the possibilities. I figured he had a partial call number.
Before I could answer, he said, "I'll show you on the computer!"
"OK, great, let's look."
We went to the computer he had been using. He opened the catalogue and chose "search by a word in the subject". Then he typed in "cooking" and clicked to search.
I said, "Too many books will come up in that search. You might want to..."
"No! Look!" He scrolled through the listings to "Quick and Easy Cooking". And... there are 285 books under that category. "See? Book number 285!"