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Library User Guide

Locating Print Items on the Shelf

Resources are arranged numerically according to the Dewey Decimal System. 

The Dewey Decimal system is a classification system used by libraries to arrange books by subject. Each book is allocated a classmark based on its content, and a cutter based on the first three letters of the author's last name (e.g., 325.22 SMI). This number is usually found on the spine of the book.

Books are arranged on the shelf in numerical order; where books are classified under the same number, they are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name (the cutter). 


Click through the tabs below for more information. 

Search Discovery

Before attempting to find a specific book on the shelf, try searching for it in Discovery. Discovery is the key to obtaining all of the information you need to find a book efficiently. 

If you're planning on browsing for a particular topic, it's a good idea to conduct a general keyword search using Discovery to find where in the library books on that topic will be shelved. Remember, books classified using the Dewey Decimal System are grouped by topic! 


Search Discovery below, or revisit our guidance on how to search

Is it Available? 

It's really frustrating to come all the way to the library, only to find the book you wanted has been checked out by someone else! 

Before looking for a resource on the shelf, you first need to establish whether it's in the Library and available. In order to do this, search the item in Discovery. You can do this by entering the title, author, or appropriate keyword(s). 

Take, for example, if you're looking for a copy of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. We would type "Wuthering Heights" into Discovery, open the record, and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here, item availability and location is displayed. 


Where is it?

Having established that the item is available, you now need to identify where in the Library it's located.

Foremost, find the shelving location (column to the left). Most items will be shelved in the main book area, though some will be in the Postgraduate room or PC suite.

Next, identify the item's class mark (column to the right). This is a combination of numbers and letters which signify the topic of the resource, and the author's last name. Make a note of this - you'll need it later!



Library Spaces

Not sure where the different library spaces are? No problem! Refer to the map on the left to find the resources you need. 

(1) DVDs

(2) PC Suite: study skills books and print journals 

(3) Main book area

(4) Postgraduate study area and resource collection 

Finding it on the Shelf

Items are placed on the shelf in numerical order (e.g., 224, 225, 225.5, 225.51, 225.52). Within the same number books are order alphabetically by author's last name (e.g., 225.52 DAN, 225.52 SIM). 

Books are placed on the shelf from left to right, like the page of a book. Refer to the image below if you're stuck! And remember, there's always someone on hand at the Library Helpdesk if you need assistance. 


Loan Types

You'll notice that books have different coloured spine labels. These represent different loan types (i.e., the amount of time you can loan items for). 

3 week loan

  • 3 week loan items are issued for three weeks, though will renew automatically for up to a year unless they have been reserved by another user.
  • Overdue fines will accumulate at a rate of 10p per item, per day. 
  • 3 week loan items are indicated by a green shelfmark label. 

1 week loan 

  • 1 week loan items are issued for one week, though will renew automatically for up to a year unless they have been reserved by another user.
  • Overdue fines will accumulate at a rate of 50p per item, per day. 
  • 1 week loan items are indicated by a yellow shelfmark label. 

24-Hour Loan 

  • 24-Hour Loan items are issued for 1 day, they can only be renewed for 1 further day
  • Overdue fines will accumulate at a rate of £1.00 per item, per day. 
  • 24-Hour Loan items are indicated by a blue shelfmark label. 

Reference Only

  • Reference Only items are not available for loan. They are to be used exclusively in the library building. Photocopies and scans can be taken in accordance with copyright legislation.

  • Reference items are indicated by a red shelfmark label.