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ESL Guide

Library Vocabulary

Learn basic vocabulary words to better communicate at the library.

Librarian: The professional who answers questions in the library or through Instant Message or Text.

Reference Desk: Desk where you can ask a librarian or library staff questions.

Circulation Desk: Desk where you go to borrow or return library materials. You can also find textbooks and course reserves here.

Library Catalog: Located on the library website where you find library books, ebooks, online videos, and other materials. This is also where you can request books from other libraries in the state.

Library Database: A database lets you search through thousands (sometimes millions) of different magazines, journals, case studies, reports, and newspapers to find articles on a particular topic. Some of the articles you will find are Full Text, which means you can read (or print out) the entire article immediately. Other times the database will only provide you with an abstract, or summary of the article. If the full-text is not available, the library can help you request the article through Inter-Library Loan (ILL).

Inter-Library Loan (ILL): ILL is for requesting items that are not available at Johnson & Wales University. You can request books, journal articles, newspaper articles, theses and dissertations. Generally, libraries do not lend the following materials: entire journal issues, newspapers, videos, reference material and reserve material.

Course Reserves: Textbooks, articles, videos that you professor has put on hold at the library for students to use. These items can only be used in the library. Go to the Circulation Desk to find course reserves.

Borrow or Check Out: To take home library materials for a short time. Example: I would like to check out a book. This means you will take the book out of the library. Course reserves can be borrowed or loaned, but they cannot leave the library.

Due Date: The date your book needs to be returned to the library. If the book is not returned to the library, you will be charged a library fine (amount of money) until the book is returned. You will receive email notices when the item is late or overdue.

Fine: Money you have to pay to the library if you return materials late or lose a book. You must not have any overdue books or late fines in order to graduate.

Renew (materials): To increase the amount of time you can keep the library materials you borrowed.

Periodicals: Journals, magazines, industry trade journals, and newspapers that are available to use in the library.

Ebooks: Electronic books that can be used online or downloaded to read or use for research.

Book "Stacks": A book "stack" is another word for book shelf where we store books. Each book shelf is a "stack." When you look up a book in the library catalog, we use the call number to find the book on the shelf.

Call Number: Unique sequence of letters and numbers that can usually be found on the book spine. The call number is the location code for the book so we can find it on the shelf for you.

Spine (book spine): Side of the book facing out, which usually lists the title and author(s) of the book and the library call number.

ESL Guide: A website created by the library and ESL faculty to help you with vocabulary related to your major, learning English through grammar exercises, listening, reading, and research help.

Fiction (books): Stories and novels (not real).

Non-Fiction (books): True stories or facts.

Study Rooms: Rooms in the library that can be reserved for private study. Rooms can accommodate up to six people.


Here is an expanded list of definitions for library and research related terms from ACRL.

What is a Library Database?

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What Are Databases & Why You Need Them