Library Vocab Cheat Sheet

Yes, believe it or not, librarianship has its own language - or at least its own vocabulary.  Here are some library-specific words or phrases you will probably come across in this blog...

The People Involved:
  • Patron - Customer; person with a library card.
  • Regular - Patron who frequents the library often enough that we know his or her name.
  • Staff - My coworkers.  The title of librarian is only given to those holding certification or an MLIS.  As of right now, I am the only librarian at my library.  The others are staff.
  • My Mom - Librarian at the local high school, my mom is always ready to advise, assist, discuss library issues, or simply commiserate.
  • Trustees - The bigwigs; my bosses.  A group of five community members elected to oversee the library.  I report to them on the status of the library, and go to them with anything super-important, super-problematic, or super-expensive.
  • FLARG (FLARE) - This stands for "Franklin County Libraries Are Really Excellent", but it was introduced to me as "...Are Really Great", and I've never been able to get away from calling it FLARG instead of FLARE.  This is our local library group.  The group meets once a month and discusses current issues in librarianship.  I am an infrequent attendee at these meetings, although now that they're on Mondays it'll be easier to get there... if I feel like it...
  • VSLA - Vermont School Library Association.  I go to their local meetings too sometimes, for no particular reason.  They have a great gift swap at Christmastime.
  • ALA - American Library Association.  Puts on amazing conferences.  Once every four years the summer conference takes place in New Orleans, and I try to go to it.  Seeing 20,000 librarians converge on Bourbon Street is really something.
  • YALSA - Division of ALA:  Young Adult Library Services Association.
The Way Things Work:
  • Card Number - Every patron has a library card with a number, so they can be identified without their name.
  • Koha - "The System" - allows us to check books in and out, look up patron information, catalog new books, etc.
  • Circulation - The process of checking books in and out.
  • Renew - Check a book out for a longer period of time - for another two weeks, for example.
  • Overdues - Books that should have come back and haven't.
Interlibrary Loan:
  • ILL - Interlibrary Loan.  If we don't have a book, we can check to see if another library does, and if so, they will usually lend it to us.  We lend out ILLs as well.
  • DOLCat - The system that allows us to search for books to request as ILLs.
  • James Patterson - By far the most popular mystery writer.  He writes about six thousand books per year.
  • Nora Roberts - Another author:  a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance.  A favorite of the women of our library, she only writes around five thousand books per year.

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