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Newcastle Libraries - Self Guided Tours

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Exploring the shelves

Library Search is our Library’s catalogue. You’ll find Library Search terminals in all the library buildings that you can use to search for a book. You can also access Library Search the Newcastle University app.

Our books are arranged by subject and each subject is represented by a number known as a shelfmark, e.g., land law is 347.31. You will find all of the land law books here.

Top tip: when you’ve identified a book you would like to read, make a note of the full shelfmark including the number and letters - write it down or take a photo of the number as you can guarantee the moment you’re in the shelves you’ll forget it!

Law Library books area, shot in panoramic - books on shelves, desks and chairs


Finding a Book Step-by-Step

As an example say I want to read Elliott and Quinn's Contract Law. First I check Library Search to find out if it's in the Library and where to find it:

An image of a Library Search result for keywords 'elliott quinn contract law'.

Here you can see that I've typed in the keywords elliott quinn contract law into Library Search and have found some results. The book I want is available as an e-book online, and as a physical/hard copy in the library. I want the physical copy, so I note down the shelfmark: LAW 347.1 ELL

Books on shelf with shelfmark: LAW 347.1 ELL


I am in the Law Library, in the Books section, and I find the books in the 347.1 area (this number indicates where I’ll find books on contract law).

The 347.1 books are then arranged alphabetically by the three letters following the shelfmark number.

Have you noticed the three letters are the first three letters of the author's family name?

I look for ELL and I now have my book.

Once I have the book I need, I can bring it and my Smartcard to the Law Library Help Desk or use the self-service unit to borrow the book myself.





Now it's your turn speech bubble image

Q. Can you find The English Legal System by Rutherford?



Have you noticed our Be Well@NCL Collection?

Be Well at NCL logo                These are books to help you understand and manage your mental health and wellbeing. They have been chosen in partnership with the University's Student Health and Wellbeing Service and other health professionals.

They are available to be borrowed by anyone in the University to help understand and manage their mental health and wellbeing.


 Arrow with 'Next Stop' written inside


Walk through the power-assisted door and look for pause point Law 10 - Borrowing and Returning a Book

Explore more

Law Library EU Law Room, books on shelf, desk in centre of roomMost of the Law Library's books are shelved in these rooms but we do have some held elsewhere too.

Why? It's because we have subject-based rooms to assist with some of the core modules you will take as part of your law degree.

One of these is the European Law Room. So our books, journals and law reports with a 348 shelfmark are shelved here, or available online, so you can locate what you need for your subject more easily.

You will see the European Law Room later on the tour when you get to the Silent Study area.


We have shelfmark guides on display in the Law Library to help you browse the shelves if you want to, but you can also use Library Search to browse the shelves!