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How to find information books in the library | Group visits to the Children's Library | Birmingham City Council

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How to find information books in the library

Information books help you to discover facts.

In the library, each non-fiction/information book has a number on its spine. This is a code number for the subject of the book. Books on the same subject have the same number.

Information books are put on the shelves in number order. That way, books on the same subject are shelved together.

This code number is more usually called a class number, Dewey number, or subject number.

Dewey Decimal Classification

We follow a plan worked out over 100 years ago by Melvil Dewey. He decided on 10 main subjects, each of which has a range of numbers:

Subject Numbers
General Knowledge (encyclopaedias, etc) 0 to 099
Philosophy (why we are here, how we should live our lives) 100 to 199
Religion (what people believe) 200 to 299
Social Studies (how we organise, e.g. politics, education) 300 to 399
Languages (how people talk and communicate) 400 to 499
Science (the natural world, e.g. plants and animals) 500 to 599
Technology (the uses of science, e.g. cars) 600 to 699
Art, Hobbies and Sport 700 to 799
Literature (e.g. poems and plays) 800 to 899
Geography (places), Biography (people) and History (the past) 900 to 999

Within a subject, the more specific you get the more specific the number becomes, e.g. poetry is a part of literature (800 to 900) and can be found starting at 821.

Find an information book on any subject

  1. Look for your subject using the catalogue on the Information Point or ask to use the “Children’s Subject Index”, which has a list of the subject numbers
  2. Look at the number next to your subject, e.g. animals - 591
  3. Go to the shelves and find the books with this number on the spine.

If you need any help, please ask a member of staff.