Finding items in languages other than English

How to find books in languages other then English

Your Librarian


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Penny Chan
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Our Library has resources in a range of languages. Some of these can be found on the shelf, however most are in storage and need to be ordered through the catalogue. To do this, and to access much of our online material, you will need to be a member of the Library. If you are a Victorian resident it is easy to sign up and become a library member.

As we are a research and reference library you will find our collection is set up a bit differently to your local library in that:

  • our books are organised by subject rather than language
  • our collection is mainly non-fiction. We have some fiction but a larger range is likely to be held by your local library. See the Other libraries box on the right side of this page for a list of languages held by different public libraries
  • you cannot borrow books from our collection. They are just for use within the library

This guide will show you how to:

  • find books and newspapers in languages other than English on our shelves
  • search our collection more broadly to find books, newspapers and journals in languages other than English
  • find resources to help you in learning a language other than English (including language dictionaries)

Finding books in other languages on the shelf

Australian novels in languages other than English

The Ian Potter Queen's Hall has a browsable collection of Australian literature. This includes translations into languages other than English. These are organised by language.

Children's books in languages other than English

The Pauline Gandel Children's Quarter also has a section devoted to books in languages other than English, including Australian Indigenous languages.

More items in languages other than English

To find more items in other languages on our shelf, perform an advanced catalogue search:

  1. Select Books from the Search scope dropdown menu
  2. Select Language note and type in the preferred language (e.g. ‘Japanese’)
  3. To remove items that are translated from the original language into English, select NOT and type ‘translat*’. This will remove any items including the terms ‘translated’ and ‘translation’.
  4. After performing the search, limit results to find on shelf under Reading room

To allow for variations in catalogue records, we recommend also performing your search without step 3 to discover all available titles.

Below is a screenshot of an advanced catalogue search for books in Japanese. There are also pre-made searches for other languages provided in the Quick Searches box on the right side of this page.


Finding newspapers in other languages on the shelf

To find newspapers in other languages on our shelves, perform a catalogue search:

  1. Type in your preferred language followed by ‘newspapers’ (e.g. ‘Arabic newspapers’)
  2. After performing the search limit results to Newspapers under Resource type
  3. Then limit results to find on shelf under Reading room

Below is a screenshot of a catalogue search for newspapers in Arabic. 


Other libraries

Sourced from: State of Victoria Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. (2021). Directory of public library services in Victoria 2021 (PDF)

Related guide

Quick searches

Here are some quick searches for books in other languages.

Find on shelf means those items are in our open access reading rooms:

You can change the language from the search to find other languages.


  • To translate this guide into another language, just go to Google translate, click on 'websites', paste in this guide's address and choose your preferred language
  • The State Library of NSW also offers a helpful glossary which translates words used by libraries into many different languages