Library Terminology

For many people, it may seem that library staff speak their own language. In a way we do, there are certain terms you will hear us use that only make sense in a library. Below is a list of some words you may hear us use.

The online database of all the material to which the library either subscribes or has bought. Before computers, entries were on individual cards; sometimes you will hear the term ‘card catalog‘.

Short for Circulation desk, the main desk in the lobby of the library. 

Someone who uses the library that is not library staff. Some libraries will also use the term ‘customer‘.

A group name for journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Individual item information, collected in fields. If you have ever worked in Excel or Access, you will be familiar with idea of records and fields.

Another word for book cases or the location where most of the print collection is located.

Tech Services
The area in the library where material processing and book repair occurs.