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Locating books on the shelves

Find books in Main Library easily with Locate This Book

View an interactive map showing your book's exact location in Main Library.

Click the ‘Locate This Book’ option within the book’s search result

How to use Locate This Book in three easy steps:

  1. When searching for a book that is available in Main Library using Library Search, click on the search result to see more options (remember to sign into Library Search to see all options)
  2. Click the 'Locate This Book' option within the book's search result (see screenshot below). This opens an interactive map of the Main Library displaying the book's shelf location highlighted in red. The map will show you the specific floor and shelf area where the book is located, as well as other facilities such as toilets, stairs and PCs to help you orientate yourself when looking for the book.
  3. If you're using 'Locate This Book' on desktop, click the QR code icon on the bottom right of your screen to generate a QR code. Scan the QR code with your mobile device to open the map, so you can use it when moving around the building.
Click the ‘Locate This Book’ option within the book’s search result


Video guide


Locating Books at Other Library Sites

The Library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme (Dewey for short) to arrange books and other resources on the shelves so you can locate them easily. 

Screenshot of Library Search interface

Note how it reads: "Available at Art and Archaeology Art and Archaeology Library Location (770.952 T1F)". The part in brackets is the bit we’re interested in.

What do these numbers next to the book's location mean?

The numbers shown below are a "shelfmark" (on Library Search, this is the number in brackets next to the book's location). You’ll find one of these on every book in the Library - a lot of customers find this confusing at first but if you break down the information into three sections, it's easier to understand.‌‌

Dewey decimal example


  1. The numbers in front of the decimal point indicate the subject area (in this case 770). Look for this number first.
  2. Next, look for the number after the decimal point (in this case 952). You should do this digit-by-digit, not as a whole number.
    In this example, look first for .9 then for .95 and then .952.
  3. Now look for the letter(s) and number(s). Letters are shelved alphabetically, numbers are shelved in order. Letters are usually the initial letter(s) of the author's name (in this case, Tucker).


  • Look for the signs at the end of each row: they show the range of shelfmarks on those shelves.
  • Rows run from left-to-right, and books are shelved from left-to-right.


  • Sometimes, you will see extra letters before the shelfmark. This shows that a book is part of a collection within the Library. For example: M.E. 279.32/R29 is part of the Middle Eastern collection.
  • Find the collection first, before looking for the number.

Ask for help

  • Most importantly, if you are having difficulty locating a book, or have any other questions please just speak to a member of staff who will be happy to assist you.