Barrie Public Library - Enriching our Community

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Library Lingo

Library Lingo

Every occupation uses terminology specific to them. Some of the terms and abbreviations used regularly in the library may be unfamiliar to you. Here are some of the most common terms we use and what they mean:

Audiobooks – Books that are read aloud by a narrator and distributed on CDs, cassette tapes, downloadable digital formats. Access all of our Audiobooks Online.

Item Barcode – The 14 digit number on the back of all library items.

Dewey Decimal System – The Library uses this system to help categorize our non-fiction collection.

  • A Dewey Decimal Number always has three numbers to the left of the decimal point. These three numbers correspond to one of ten main subject areas (000-900). 
  • Each subject area is further divided by tens according to different areas of study within the subject. (i.e. 500, 512, 530, etc.)
  • The numbers after the decimal narrow the subject matter even further. There is no limit to how many numbers can be after the decimal point. The more numbers after the decimal, the more specific the subject.
  • In addition to numbers, the letter code after the number is used for the author or title and where there is more than one edition, the year of publication is also included as part of the call number. 
  • When you are searching for an item in the library you need both the number and letter codes of a call number to locate the item on the shelf.

eBook – A book that is available in electronic format. Access all of our eBooks Online.

Genre Stickers – There are a wide range of stickers on the spines of the books to help you quickly see what type of book it is.

Interlibrary Loan (ILLO) – Libraries borrow from other libraries to help you get what you need or want. ...find out how to use the service.

Patron – Any visitor to the Library, or any user of a library service.

Patron Barcode – The 14 digit number on the front of your library card.

Online public access catalogue (OPAC) – A searchable database of library holdings.

Periodical - A publication which is issued periodically, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.

Reader's Advisory – Library staff provide assistance and suggestions for reading material based on your reading preferences.

Reference items – Books, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes and directories, which are used to find specific factual information quickly. These books do not normally leave the library. Staff will sometimes make exceptions, allowing a reference item to be loaned out overnight. 

If you don’t see the term you are looking for please contact us.