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Curriculum Center & Curriculum Collections: General Info

Due to the coronavirus upset, many publishers and educational organizations have exceptional online content for children, teachers, parents, and anyone interested in children's books


The Curriculum Center is on the 2nd floor of Murphy Library, next to the math tutoring room. The Curriculum Center houses the children's literature collection especially for teacher candidates and anyone else interested in children's, teen and young adult books. Designed to resemble a mock school library, the collection organization is different from the main collection of the 2nd floor.

Everything in the curriculum collection can be checked out by anyone with a valid UWL ID card, or a community card, downstairs at the circulation desk on the main floor. For any questions about the collection, instruction, or other services and space, please contact the Curriculum Collection Librarian at 

The floor plan below shows the location of each type of resource in the Curriculum Center:

  • picture books 
  • information books (non fiction) 
  • fiction (for independent readers, often called YA or young adult)
  • big books (physically big books for story time) 
  • graphic novels
  • professional classroom resources for teachers


The Different Collections in the Curriculum Center



Picture Books: The targeted age of picture books is pk-8 years. The author and illustrator tell a made-up fictional story with a main character who needs to overcome a problem. Generally 32 pages in length (by traditional publishing industry standards), picture books can be longer with up to 48 pages, but usually do not go much beyond this length. Images and text are equally important and play off each other, creating even more meaning for the reader, who can also participate in making sense of what is happening on the pages, which creates a unique interaction between child and picture book. 

undefined Finding picture books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

Picture books are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. The call number for all picture books starts with E (meaning "easy reader") followed by the first three letters of the author's last name. If you are looking for a book by its illustrator, you will have to look for the author instead. Sometimes the author and illustrator are the same person. The call number for a book by Dr. Seuss is: E Seu and is located in the picture book section in the S's. 

Wordless Picture Books: When a picture book has no words, only images, the story is visually interpreted. The child can follow the story that the images tell, but s/he can also interpret the images as s/he pleases, telling and retelling a different story each time. Wordless picture books are often epic in nature, with a hero going on a journey, or they can be very abstract, giving the child the ability to interact with the images in his/her own way. 

undefined Finding wordless picture books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

Wordless picture books are located with the other picture books. There is no special metadata or indexing, but a search using the term "wordless" and limiting your search to the Curriculum Center can be very helpful because the term "wordless" can be picked up in the book's description part of the record. Contact the Curriculum Collection Librarian ( for more assistance in locating wordless picture books. 

Fiction Books: Books for independent readers are made up stories that could be based truth, events, people, places but there is always a fictional story for the reader to follow. Murphy Library does not actively collect chapter books, which are for beginning independent readers, but rather books for solid independent readers. Therefore, the subject matter is usually for a more mature reader (however, there are certain authors who write for younger readers, such as Kate DiCamillo). Although fiction books target ages from 10 through young adults, the biggest consumer of these books is the age group 25-40. 

undefined Finding fiction books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

Fiction books are arranged in a separate section, against the wall to the right as you enter the Curriculum Center. They are arranged alphabetically by the first three letters of the author's last name. For example, any Harry Potter book written by J.K. Rowling has the call number Row. 

Information Books (Non Fiction): Information books, on the whole, contain purely information: facts about science, animals, math, people, events, places, etc. Books in this category are not fictional stories. Information books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System (a system widely used in public and school libraries), which breaks down knowledge into big chunks and assigns numbers (think: Psychology, Sociology, Mythology, Science, Animals, Art, Technology, History, Geography and Biographies), which makes it very easy to browse this collection.

undefined Finding information books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center 

Information books are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal system, which assigns each book a three digit number (depending on the subject) followed by the first letters of the author's last name. For example, all science books fall in the 500's. Math books fall between 510-519. Astronomy between 529-529. Any book on plants is between 560-569. Animals are between 570-579. History books fall in the 900's. Books on the history of North America are between 970-979, etc.

Look for posters on the side of the book shelves in the Curriculum Center that will help you navigate this section. 


For more information, see the complete classification broken down here. 

Graphic Novels: Graphic novels differ from comics in that graphic novels generally have a storyline that starts at the beginning of the book and is usually resolved at the end. Comics, on the other hand, are made up of very small disassociated segments that are resolved quickly and then move on to a new mini segment--almost like comparing a film to a series. Graphic novels are not just for older students. The genre is used in schools for teaching literacy, and authors are now writing graphic novels for even younger children in elementary schools. 

undefined Finding graphic novels in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

The online record will indicate whether the book is a graphic novel by its designation "GN". Graphic novels are in their own separate section, directly underneath the large sign that says "Curriculum Center" (big white lettering on the far wall as you enter the Curriculum Center). 

You can also add the search term graphic novel after your topic search term in the online library search box and limit the drop down menu to "Curriculum Center". 

Example search: "history graphic novel" limited to the Curriculum Center using the drop down menu on the main search box of the library's home page will give you results indexed as "history" in the graphic novel section. 

Professional Books for Teachers: These books are classroom support for teachers. They are hands-on books with teaching activities, lesson plans, lists of books that match activities, etc. and cover all subjects taught in school. 

undefined Finding professional books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

The online record will indicate whether the book is in the Professional section by its call number which starts with PROF followed by a series of numbers and letters that match the Dewey Decimal classification. All of these books are on the left wall as you walk into the Curriculum Section. 

Textbooks: Murphy Library does not actively collect textbooks. The textbooks in the Curriculum Center have been donated and purposely curated by publication year, age and grade, and subject matter. They are used to teach preservice teachers how to evaluate textbooks, and how textbooks have changed throughout the years. 

undefined Finding textbooks in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

The online record will indicate whether the book is a textbook. Textbooks are divided into two basic groups: K-5 and then middle/high school textbooks. The K-5 textbooks all start with the call number 372 followed by additional numbers (depending on the subject) and the publication year. The middle/high school textbooks are arranged according to the Dewey Decimal system. 

Big Books: Big books are simply books that are physically too big to fit on the regular shelves. You will find big story books, big science books, and big professional books for teachers. 

undefined Finding big books in Murphy Library's Curriculum Center

The online records will indicate if a book is in the Big Books cabinet. Big Books are arranged in the same way as the other sections of the curriculum collection (big picture books start with E + (first three letters of author's last name); big information books will have a Dewey Decimal call number, and big professional books will start with PROF + (series of numbers). 

Engagement & Curriculum Collection Librarian

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Teri Holford
277 Murphy Library

How to find titles

If you do not have a title, call number, or name of author, use the Murphy Library online search box.

1 Find the search box on the main page of the library website and type in a search term (author, illustrator, country, subject, etc).  Change the dropdown menu to the right from "Search@UW" to "Curriculum Center". 



2 Choose your title or item. You can immediately see the status (available or not) and the call number.