Your results in Library Search will advise also the availability of resources, which may be in physical or online form.

  • Physical resources are indicated by Available at, followed by the library, collection, and call number e.g. QA276.12.F75 1997
    • When physical resources are not currently available, this is indicated by Check availability
  • Online resources are indicated by Available online
Library search result showing item location information.
An example Library Search result for an available physical item, showing the library, collection, and call number.

How to find an item on the shelf

  1. Check Library Search to ensure the item is in physical form, and indicated as Available
  2. The location information will include the library and the collection.
CollectionsDetails (see our borrowing rules for more information)
High UseItems may only be borrowed for 24 hours and cannot be renewed
ReferenceItems cannot be borrowed and must be used within the Library
Others, such as General or JournalLoan periods may vary - once logged in, the Get It display in a resource will show the policy which applies
  1. Record the call number of the item. Items are ordered alphabetically and numerically by call number e.g. Q > QA > QB, and QA275 > QA276 > QA277. The last part of a call number is the publishing year. Learn more about Library of Congress Call Numbers.
  2. In the Get It section for a resource, look for the View location button, which leads to helpful information such as how to find the library, floor plans showing the location of each collection, and opening hours.
    • Some libraries and resources are not directly accessible or require prior arrangement, such as our Warehouse and Fryer Library. Check the Get It section also for request options and see our location & hours information for details before heading to the Library
  3. After arriving at the Library, look for signs for the location you need. Clients with disabilities may request staff assistance.
  4. Once in the correct area of the Library, look for the signs on the bookshelves.
  5. Use the order of the call number stickers placed on the spines, to navigate to the item.
Library shelves, call number signs BC 199-BF 173
Bookshelves with call number signage.
Books on the shelf with visible and ordered call numbers.
Book on the shelf, in call number order.

Items not on the shelf

Items not found on the shelves may be on loan. This is indicated in Library Search with a status of Check availability, and you may be able to submit a request after logging in.

If you can't find the item: 

  1. Check that you have the correct library location and call number
  2. Check the floor plans to make sure you're on the right floor and in the right area
  3. Check on the floor for sorting shelves, where resources are organised by staff prior to reshelving
  4. Ask staff for assistance.

Note that in some cases the item may already be in use within the Library by another client, but not yet borrowed.

Explore related items

The Library of Congress call number system groups items by subject, so you can usually find interesting items shelved around the one you initially searched for. You may like to explore additional ways we help you to find related items online.