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How can I find things? Print

ImageAs you will have discovered from exploring the library, there are thousands of books for you to choose from to help you with your school- work, and to encourage your enjoyment of reading. All these are arranged in a specific way and you will need to be aware of this in order to find the books or material most suited to your needs. Refer to the virtual tour of the library to see where each section is.

Fiction or story-books.

These are books that are made up by the author, and are not true stories. There are many different types or genres of fiction books. Click here to see a few types.

Fiction books are arranged alphabetically by the author's surname. Try out the fiction book sorting game to see if you can order fiction books correctly.

If you need some help choosing a fiction book, try using the web to find something great to read.

ImageNon-fiction books.

These are books about real things, people, events, and places; they are information or fact books. Each is given a special subject number, which is displayed on the spine of the book, and then the books are arranged numerically. As a result all the information on the same subject can be found in the same section no matter who the author is. The numerical system used in the library is the Dewey system.


- magazines and newspapers, which contain up-to-the-minute information, which is generally superceded very quickly. Magazines are arranged alphabetically by their title. Newspaper cuttings on a range of topics are collated by the librarian and are held behind the issue desk. Current newspapers are displayed on the issue desk. Ephemera material is not available for loan.

Reference books – these are books which are not loaned out, but which are used to refer to in the library. They include dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Also other useful types of books such as handbooks, companions, and even the Guinness Book of Records. These books are arranged by subject, and again have a number on the spine, but they are kept together in the reference section.

Searching the library catalogue

Computer software upon which the library runs is called “ Alice ”. The Alice catalogue contains a list of everything that is held in the library – 12,000 books, DVD's, Videos etc.

You can search the catalogue at any of the computer stations in the library. The catalogue will tell you

  • If the library stocks the item
  • Whether/not the item is on loan
  • Titles by the same author
  • Titles in the same series
  • How to search “ Alice ” from the computer
  • Programmes> Core Programmes> Library enquiry

ImageKey in :-

  • Author's name (remember to put the last name first, eg Horowitz, Anthony), or
  • title , or
  • series , or
  • keyword
  • Click on the Binoculars  Imageicon for your search to begin.

A list of possibilities will be presented. Alice will highlight the closest match.

Press the arrow  Image and view details on the Resource details screen. This will tell you if the resource is available, on loan and the classification number of the resource.

Non-fiction area

This contains all the information / fact books, for school subjects, and for leisure interests eg) history, biology, football, cars, photography etc

How do I find a book I need in the non-fiction area?

Books are arranged in numerical order, according to the DEWEY DECIMAL system.

In this system the entire spectrum of knowledge is divided into ten numerical divisions and each division is given a number 000-900.

000 – General Works

100 – Psychology and Philosophy

200 – Religion

300 – People in Society

400 - Languages

500 - Natural Sciences

600 – Applied Sciences

700 – Arts

800 – Literature

900 – Geography and History

These main divisions are each further subdivided into ten, and again given a number eg) 500,510 520,530,540,550,560,570,580,590.

Each of these divisions is further subdivided to cover more specific subjects within the broader subject umbrella eg) 530,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539.

Then the decimal point comes in and classes are further sub-divided
eg) 530.1,530.2,530.3,530.4 etc

and yes you've guessed it, each of these sections can be further subdivided
eg) 530.1,533.11, 530.12, 530.13,

So the end result is that all books on the same subject are shelved together.

For more information about the Dewey system, try these links:

Dewey and the Alien

The Dewey Story