You’ve been given your module handbooks for the semester, and you have been told that you can find many of your course books in the library. But how are you going to go about finding a few books among thousands? You might also be wondering if finding items will be different with the current coronavirus measures?

Well, if you read on we have composed a handy guide to finding those all-important books and resources. At the end of you’ll also see some of the changes we’ve made to keep yo

Step 1 – Book a Browse and Borrow slot to visit the Library

The service will allow you to book a 15 minute slot to browse shelves in Augustine House or Salomons Institute library and borrow items via the self-service machines. The service is available throughout the opening times of our libraries. The same service will also allow you to collect reservations or return books.

If you’re collecting a lot of books from around the library, fifteen minutes might not be enough time. If that’s the case, you can book two or more slots back to back to give yourself the time you need to find the books your looking for.

If you have booked a Click and Study slot, you will be able to access the shelves whenever you need to. You won’t need to book a separate slot to browse the shelves. 

Read Introducing Browse and Borrow for more information.

Step 2 – Find the item on LibrarySearchLibrary Search

First you’ll need to find the book you need on LibrarySearch, the University’s library catalogue and online discovery tool.

LibrarySearch can be located through the student webpages. LibrarySearch is easy to use, all you need to do is enter the author’s last name and a few words from the title to find a specific book. Alternatively, if you are looking for a book in a specific subject area, just enter some key words to describe your subject.

You can use LibrarySearch to check the availability and location of items before your arrival. LibrarySearch terminals are also available in the library.

Step 3 – Note down the Classmark

Once you have found the book that you are looking for on LibrarySearch, click on the title to see if there is a copy available, and make a note of the classmark. The classmark is a series of numbers followed by three letters, which is the start of the author’s last name or the book’s title

For example: Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Has the classmark of 378.170281 COT

Need further help getting started with LibrarySearch? We have a handy quick-start guide.

Step 4 – Knowing the loan period


As well as the classmark, you’ll need to know the loan period of the item. The information is held in the loan type column in LibrarySearch.

It may not seem important at first glance, but knowing the loan period of the books you are looking for, determines what shelves they will be on in Augustine House. The 24-hour and 7 day loan books will be found on the open shelves all down the room on floors one, two and three. Whereas the four week loan books are on the moving shelves at the back of floors one, two, and three.

At the Salomons and Drill Hall libraries books of all loan types are interfiled but it’s always worth knowing how long you can borrow your book for!

Step 5 – Understanding the classmark

Now that you know the classmark and the loan period of the books you’re looking for, you are almost there. The final step is to use that classmark to find the items on the shelves.

Classmark are signposted at the end of each bookshelf and each book has a sticker with its classmark on the spine. The bookshelves will be in numerical order and in Augustine House, the sequence goes up from floors one to three. For example: floor 1 is 000-329, floor 2 is 330-599, and floor 3 is 600-999.

Once you have found the shelf, look at the numbers on the classmark and match them with those on the book. All the books with the same number are then filed alphabetically based on the last three letters on the classmark. Still confused? This visual guide might help.

Understanding a classmark.
Example classmark 378.170281 COT
The classmark is like the book's postcode. It tells you where thye book lives in the library. Each book has a sticker with its classmark on the spine.
Step 1 image showing 378. highlighted. Look at the number before the dot
Step 2. Find the shelf in numerical order. 378 will be somewhere between 377 and 379.
Step 3. Look at the numbers after the dot. Find one number at a time. Find 1, then 7, then 0 and so on.
4. Look at the letters. The three letters are the start of the author's last name or the book title (if it's and edited work with several authors)

A different classification system is used at the Salomons Institute Library but the methodology of finding books is very similar. At Salomons you’ll still need to follow the books in alphabetical and numerical order.

Well done, by following these steps you should have found your book! Now you can borrow the book and get studying.

Still need help?

However, if you still can’t find your book after following these steps just visit the Library Point at any of our libraries for help. At Medway, ask a member of staff at the Helpdesk near the library entrance. At Augustine House you can also use the phone at the JustAsk pod and give them a call on 2508.

COVID-19 – Keeping you safe

If you have used an item from the shelves but do not wish to borrow it please place the item in the green boxes provided. These will be located near to exit doors and the moving shelves. In accordance with current Government guidelines these items will then be safely stored for 72 hours to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. To help us keep all users safe please do not leave them on desks or shelves. Compliance with this measure allows us to continue offering access to the shelves.  

We ask you to follow the current Health and Safety guidance: 

  • Please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser gel provided before browsing the shelves. 
  • Please adhere to the one-way directions around the shelves. 
  • Maintain social distancing whilst browsing. 
  • From Monday 9 November, new guidance for the lockdown period requires face coverings to be worn at all times when in our Library buildings, even when seated and 2m apart.  If you wish to indicate that you are exempt, face covering exemption cards for lanyards are available from Anselm security lodge and Medway and Salomons receptions. As a University, we also recognise the Hidden Disability sunflower lanyard.  See Your campus during lockdown for details.
  • Please use the NHS contact-tracing app to scan the QR codes located in our libraries. Please read contact-tracing in our libraries for details.