Borrowing books 101

Student borrowing a textbook from a self-service kioskThe library is Tardis-like, being seemingly bigger on the inside than it seems when you first walk in. Most people find such a large library intimidating but since you can clearly learn your way around a big new city, it is a simple matter in comparison to find where you want to go in the library!

Here is a brief walkthrough of how to find books in the library:

Prefer watching a one minute YouTube video?

  1. Decide what you are trying to find.  Are you looking for a specific book that has been recommended to you or do you want to find everything on a particular (broad or very specific) topic?  As with all searching, unless you know what you are looking for it is very difficult to know when you have found it!
  2. Love your online unit reading lists.  Click the blue button to the right of each book to find how many copies are available and at which shelfmark.  You can reserve books from here if all the copies are already on loan.
  3. Search the Library catalogue.  On the Library homepage, click the “Catalogue” tab above the purple search box in the top-right corner and then type into the box and then type in either:
    • the book title and possibly the first named author’s surname (or pick the most unusual words from the title and just type these in – in all cases, lss is more;
    • one or two words that precisely describe your topic.
  4. Write down the classmark (shelfmark) number.  An example is shown below.  This number identifies the topic the main topic of a book.  It is printed on a label and stuck on the spine.  The books are shelved in increasing number order.  All the books on precisely the same topic all have the same classmark number, making it easier to find all the books on a topic.  Each book also has three letters after the number.  These are the first three letters of the first author’s surname or sometimes the book title.  All the books with exactly the same classmark number are arranged alphabetically by these three letter codes, so all the books on a particular narrow topic are ordered alphabetically by author.
  5. Find which shelf to visit.  The “Locate on shelf” button in the catalogue record brings up a 3D library floor plan showing where your book is shelved.  Take a moment to check which floor it is on.  Please don’t be afraid to ask at the Library Help Desk in the atrium.  We are very happy to take you to the shelf and explain how the library is laid out.
  6. Visit a self-service kiosk.  Sleek, black and easily identified by their glowing blue strips, the self-service kiosks allow you to borrow entire stacks of books at once and also check your account to check what you have on loan.  Click “Borrow books”, lay your student card in the small opening until the kiosk recognises it and logs you in, then bathe all your books in the blue light of the large opening.  Once all the books appear listed with a green tick against them, you can take everything (remember to take your student card!) and go on your merry way.

Congratulations if you made it this far!  This video summarises the main points.

Returning your books

Returning your books is even simpler.  Just feed them one at a time into the returns sorter.  This takes them away on a conveyor belt and sorts them so we can get them back on the shelves in double-quick time.  If you lose something to they conveyor belt or return something by mistake, please let us know straight away and we can retrieve it for you.

This video shows you how it all works.

Library emails

When both borrowing and returning books, you can choose to receive an email receipt to confirm the transaction.

You receive emails whenever books you borrowed renew themselves.  Please open these emails, even if you never read them.  If you consistently archive or delete library emails without first opening them, your university (Google Mail) email account might think you never want to see library emails and start sending all future library emails straight to the “spam” folder.  This risks you never being shown the emails asking you to bring back recalled books, and this might mean you do not return recalled books on time, which results in library charges (it costs you money)!

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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