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ESL: Library Vocabulary

Common Library Words


CALL NUMBER (ALSO CALL #) The location, similar to an address, where you can locate library materials. On books, the call number is listed on the bottom of the spine.   
CHECK OUT To borrow something from the library; to take something home with you from the library.  You will need to show a student ID to check out.
CIRCULATION DESK The desk in the library where you can check out books, magazines, videos, and other items.
COURSE RESERVES Books professors have set aside in the library for you to read for your class.  They are located at the Circulation Desk and may be checked out for a limited time period set by the instructor. You may request the item at the Circulation Desk if it is available.
DUE DATE The date by which you should return items you have borrowed to the library.  If you keep a book past the due date, you will receive an email telling you that the book is late (or overdue) and asking you to return it.
LIBRARIAN A specialist in the library and information field.  If you are having difficulty finding what you need, you can ask a librarian for help.
LIBRARY A place where you can borrow books, videos, magazines, etc.; a place where can get help finding information for your classes.  (Students sometimes confuse library with book store.  A book store is a place where you can buy books.)
LOAN PERIOD The length of time for which you can borrow something from the library.  At the end of the loan period, you must return the item to the library.
PERIODICAL A publication (usually a collection of articles) that is issued at regular intervals.  Magazines, journals, and newspapers are all periodicals.
QUESTIONS Something you should ask a lot when you are in the library.  We are happy to help you!
READER (ALSO EASY READER A book for ESL students that is easy to read.
REFERENCE BOOKS Books such as encyclopedias and dictionaries that may only be used in the library.
REFERENCE DESK    A desk where someone can help you find information either in the library or online.  The circulation desk and the reference desk are sometimes combined into one desk.
RENEW To extend the loan period on an item; to check an item out again so you can keep it longer.
REQUEST To ask the library to hold a book for you when it is checked out by another student. We will email you when the book comes back and is ready for you to check out.
RETURN    To bring a book (or other item) you have borrowed back to the library.