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Main Education Collections: UK and International: Main Collection

About the Main Education Collection


The Main Education Collection, or 'Main' is shelved on Level 5 at the UCL Institute of Education Newsam Library and Archives. 


The Main Education Collection began in 1902, when the Institute was known as the London Day Training College and since then we have consistently aimed to ensure access to all published resources related to UK education.The collection also contains materials about education globally.

The collection consists of over 350,000 physical items with some of these titles also available electronically. It contains resources from the early twentieth century to the most recently published research and textbooks. It is the largest national collection of education materials and we collect comprehensively on all aspects of education in the UK including resources produced by the devolved governments i.e. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Loan types

Resources which are part of the Main Education Collection are available for Short Loan (red labels), 1 week Loan (yellow labels) and Standard Loan (white labels). More information about borrowing can be found here. Due to space constraints, some of the older/less frequently used Main Collection material is held in Store and can be requested at the IOE Library Help Point for reference use within the Library.

Classification scheme

The collection uses a unique classification system called the London Education Classification (LEC) scheme. Although the classification may appear unfamiliar, it is easy to get used to as it is organised in strictly alphabetical order. 

Using the collection

Given the size and scope of the collection, it is very popular with not only our own staff and students but also with students and researchers both nationally and internationally. If you would like more information about using our library, please see our Information for External Visitors LibGuide.


Recommending resources

In addition to using our online form to Recommend a resource, you can also contact librarians directly with stock suggestions. For the Main Education collection, contact:
Dan O'Connor BA, BA(Open), Msc. Econ.
Contact Info
UCL Institute of Education Library, University of London
20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7612 6061
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Finding on Level 5 (Main)

The classmark sequence on this floor is alphabetical, with each syllable treated as a separate unit. There are 2 parts to each classmark:

  • 1 or more syllables (capital and small letters) indicating the subject of the book, followed by:
  • The first 3 letters of the author's name (or occasionally the title), all in capitals, which distinguishes books on the same subject by different authors. 

To find a book, locate the relevant shelf using the classification sequence guides at the end of the shelving bays, then follow the sequence of letters alphabetically until you find the book which matches your classification exactly. Often, the classification sequence is unique to a single title, but be aware that sometimes, a few other titles may have the same location.


To find items with 'OVERSIZE' in the classmark, go all the way to the end of the Main education sequence (Tux). Here you'll find that the sequence starts again i.e. with 'Bab', but this time the classmarks end with 'OVERSIZE'.

Recent Arrivals

Digital Media in Education
Access to Success and Social Mobility Through Higher Education: A Curate's Egg
Contemporary debates in education studies / edited by Jennifer Marshall
Decolonising intercultural education
Innovations in open and flexible education
Neoliberalism, gender and education work
Sexualities and genders in education: towards queer thriving
Poverty discourses in teacher education
What's transgressive about trans studies in education now ?
Education and the limits of reason
Scottish education
Understanding Teaching and Learning

Collection News

Collection Management Project 2018

The Main Education Collection continues to grow and this means that we have to carefully assess how the space on our open shelves is managed.

This year, we will be sending approximately 15,000 items which have not been borrowed in the last ten years to our remote storage facility. All of the items that we send to storage will remain accessible and borrowable - a store item will usually arrive within a day of being requested.

This project will ensure that we can continue to grow and build the collection and ensure the continued accessibility of "high-use" items.