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How do I find books in the library?

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Searching for a book in Library Search (the library catalogue)

In order to find books in the library, you will first need to type the title of the book into Library Search (the library catalogue) to find the location and call number.  For books, ensure that you are searching under the BU Library Collections scope from the drop down menu. For generic titles, it often helps to include the author's name

Once you have found your item listed, you need to note which library holds it (Main, Welsh, Maelor, Law etc.).  The location (Available at) should tell you which library holds the item and in which section within that library it will be located (book, large book, journal etc.).

You can click on the ‘and other locations’ to view if other libraries hold a copy:

In this instance there is one copy available at Main Library > Book

Once you have noted the library and location make a note of the call number, as this is what you will need to find the book on the shelf.

How to read call numbers

Libraries use call numbers to organise books on the shelves. The call numbering system we use (Library of Congress) uses a combination of letters and numbers so that books on the same topic are grouped together. This means that when browsing the shelves, you will find other useful books on the same topic nearby.

The call numbers begin with a letter and run alphabetically with each broad subject grouping allocated its own letter.  The letter and number that follow the first letter narrow down the subject.

Structure of a Call Number

Title: Change by design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation

Author: Tim Brown

Call Number: HD58.8 .B772 2009 

How to find a book on the shelf

Now to find your book on the shelf. 

You will need to look at the shelf labels on the end of each row of shelves. 

Shelf order

The call number sequence is ordered from left to right on the shelf starting at the top of the first bay.  After reaching the end of the shelf, the sequence continues on the left side of the shelf beneath. When the sequence reaches the bottom shelf, it then jumps to the top shelf of the second bay.

Please see this video that explains how to find items in the library.


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