This guide is for students on the HNC in Construction and the Built Environment at Reading College.

How to find books

You can follow this link to view an electronic reading list for your course or you can type HNCCONSTRUCTION into the Activate Learning Library Catalogue search bar. This is a live link to the library catalogue which allows you to see if items are available on the shelf or when they are due back if they are on loan.

You can also search the catalogue using filters, applying Boolean operators and selecting preferred media types.

For example you can apply your search term to: 

  • Title, Author, Location, Keyword, Subject, Publisher, Location or All fields using the search in filter. 
  • AND, OR , AND NOT to build your search by clicking + and selecting the appropriate operator. 
  • Media Type can be selected from the drop down box.

Results from this search will include items that located at Reading and have construction in the title.

If you know the title of the book you are looking for you can use a guided search by selecting that option from the tabs at the top and entering the details.

For more help using the catalogue you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.


eBooks are listed on the catalogue and can be recognised by the [eBook] symbol next to the entry. To access an eBook look at the detailed entry for the item and select the link that says Read me…. (click for online e-book). You can access eBooks offsite, the username and password are the same as your college network login details.

You can search for just eBooks by changing the Media type to eBook from the drop down list.

You can view a selection of construction related eBooks by following this link or you can type HNCCONSTRUCTIONEBOOKS into the Activate Learning Library Catalogue search bar. You can also browse the eBook collection by category here.

   Book Jacket 

For more help using eBooks you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.

Finding books on the shelves

You may want to browse the shelves, books are organised by subject and given a shelfmark which consists of numbers and letters. Shelfmarks for books are displayed on the catalogue so you can locate the book, books nearby will be similar in subject so may also be useful. 

  • Books on Maths can be found at 510.
  • Books on Construction and the Built Environment start at 690.

Your Library Online account

Logging into your Heritage account allows you to view the items you have on loan and reserved, you can also renew items and view your loan history. Log in using your student ID number and your date of birth DDMMYY.

For more help using your Heritage account, you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.


By logging in to your account you can place reservations on items that are on loan, this will stop the current user from renewing the item and you will be contacted by the library when the item is ready for collection.

You can also reserve items from any of the  Activate Learning Libraries in the same way. If the item you require is held at City of Oxford or Banbury Library you can reserve it by logging into the catalogue and clicking Reserve on the detailed record for the item. The item will be transferred to Reading College Library and a member of the team will contact you when it is ready for collection. Alternatively speak to a member of the team at the issue desk and they will help you arrange for the item to to transferred.

How to find journals and journal articles

Reading journals and magazines allows you to keep up-to-date with developments in the sector; read reviews and news and follow current trends.

The library holds reference copies of some technology related journals. You can read them in the library or photocopy articles to take away. Journals available at Reading College Library include:

  • Brick Bulletin

  • Building (also available digitally here)

  • Construction News (also available digitally here)

  • Heating and Plumbing Monthly

  • Update Standards

You can also access journals and magazines online. Recommended websites for your course include:

  • HNC Construction - website designed for students studying the HNC at Activate Learning by course tutor Steve Malone. You can find links to all his recommended books, course and unit information and handouts.
  • Construction Enquirer - online magazine covering the latest construction developments, business news and jobs in the UK.
  • The Construction Index - a construction based search engine for global construction news, tenders and feature articles.

    Google Scholar is a customised search engine and tool specifically designed to help both students and academics find scholarly research, including articles, books and university theses.

    Unlike a standard search engine it aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature. You can sort your results by year to find the newest research or click Cited by or Related articles to find similar work. This means it is easier to find the most relevant and reputable articles for your subject. It will also provide you with references ready to drop straight into your own work.

    Study skills and referencing

    Good study skills allow you to get the most out of your time in college, work efficiently and achieve good grades on your course.

    Referencing is vital to avoid plagiarism and to give credit to other author’s work and ideas you have used.


    There are a wide range of study skills books available in our libraries, you can find a selection on this list or browse the study skills section in the library.

    Using other libraries

    As an Activate Learning student, you can use the libraries at City of Oxford College and Banbury College if that is convenient for you.

    Where to get help

    You can contact the library team or access information about our services in a number of ways.

     Telephone  01189554700
     Twitter  @ActivateLibrary

    Or in person during library opening hours.