Wading Through Library Jargon


Do you ever feel out to sea when you go to the auto mechanic, and he says you have a torn CV boot? CV boot? (Scratching head.) How about when the computer guy at the local store says you're really going to need the 3.2 gig quad-core processor. Is that more expensive? (Counting money quickly in your head.) Unless you're the technical type, these terms may just fly right past you. And it sometimes is the case that we at the library get technical too, and start throwing out terms that some might find confusing. Well, hopefully this little post can help you find the materials you want when we drop into our special dialect of English. Here are some of the biggies:

Call number: Hmm ... is call a verb or a noun here? Good question. The call number is essentially an item's address so it can be located. This number in most cases can be found on the spine of the item, and signs direct you to the general location.

Catalog: The list of all the materials the library has. If you want to find a book on your own, this is the place to go. By the way, we've had computerized catalogs for over twenty years now.

Check-in, Check-out: This is you letting us know that you are borrowing a book, or returning it. We then keep track of this in our computer system.

Circulation: The place in the library where items are checked in and out, and where issues related to this process are handled, like paying a fine, or updating one's phone number.

Database: The library's collection on the Internet. It contains online books, magazine articles, newspapers, and other resources.

Hold: A request that a book be set aside for you for usually three days, or transferred to your branch from another and held there for seven days.

Information: The place in the library which handles questions related to the collection or general information. These people help you find what you want.

Interlibrary loan: A service where you can have a book brought to your library from a library outside of OC PUblic Libraries system.

Juvy: A abbreviation for "children's".

OPAC: (Online Public Access Catalog) Another way of saying "catalog". See above.

Reference: Another way of saying "information". See above.

Renew: To extend the period you can borrow the library materials.

Stacks: This just simply means the shelves in the library.

Any others? Share them in the comments.

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