Finding things

Here's how to find your way around the Library.

Finding books in the Library

If you are looking for a specific item or for books on a particular topic, search the online catalogue iDiscover. You can access iDiscover through a web browser on your own device, or from one of the two dedicated catalogue terminals on the ground floor of the Library.

More information on using iDiscover

When you have found the item you want in the catalogue, make a note of the shelfmark. This is a combination of numbers and letters (e.g. 287.9 BOY or B852 GOL) which tells you where the item is on the shelf. It’s best to also make a note of the title, as different items can have the same shelfmark.

If you prefer to browse the shelves, there are subject lists and maps on each floor to help you find what you are looking for.

Library maps

Library floor plans are displayed on the Ground Floor of the Library.

Floor by floor guide

Most items in the Library are arranged using the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC).

Ground Floor

Subject material

Information and Computer Science (000)
Philosophy / Psychology (100)
Theology (200)
Social Sciences (300)
Language / Linguistics (400)
Maths / Science (500)
Management / Engineering (600)

Local Collection (LC)

A large collection of material about Cambridge and the surrounding region. Reference only (not borrowable).

Reserved items trolley

The reservations trolley is under the stairs and contains items reserved by Library users that are ready for collection. If we have emailed you to let you know an item you’ve requested is now available for collection, this is where you will find it. You need to borrow the item using the self-issue machine before taking it away. If you no longer need it, let us know so that we can put it back on the shelf.

First floor

Subject material

Arts / Music (700)
Literature (800-E899)

Oversized Collection (OS)

Books that are too big for the standard shelves (mainly art books). These books have a blue sticker.

Second floor

Subject material

Children’s Literature (800)
History / Geography (900)

Multimedia Collection (MMC)

CDs and DVDs – these are borrowable in the same way as books. DVDs have a blue sticker.

Homerton College Music Collection

The Music Collection contains music scores and sets of part scores which can be hired. These items have a yellow sticker (note that main subject music texts are on the first floor).

We run the music score hire service together with Christ’s College, who provide more information on their Music Hire page. Please make all enquiries about the collection to us at

Children’s Literature Collection (CLC)

An extensive range of children’s fiction and books about children’s fiction. These books have a Dewey Decimal number from 800-899 and have a green sticker.

Some very large children’s books are kept in two wheeled filing boxes in order of their shelfmark. These are marked as ‘Big book’ in our catalogue.

Journals (PER)

A collection of back issues of academic journals arranged in alphabetical order by title. All our hard copy journal holdings are included on iDiscover. Journals are reference only (not borrowable). Where a journal is available online, a link is provided in iDiscover.

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