Library Lingo

Confused about Maryland Library world's alphabet soup? Below is a list of some common library terms and organizations. Below are some library terms and acronyms defined for you.

Questions?  Or wish to have lingo added to this page, please contact us.



ALA - American Library Association. The oldest and largest library association in the world, ALA's mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. (Source: ALA Web page)

ARLD - Academic Libraries Research Division of the Maryland Library Association.

Bar Code - A machine-readable series of numbers on a book to help identify it in the library system. Circulation clerks scan the bar code of a book to check it out or in.

BAROC - Baltimore Art Research and Outreach Consortium. Consortium including several Maryland Libraries responsible for the Maryland Artsource project.

BIB Record - Bibliographic record of a library item, usually containing basic information, such as title, author, and format, as well as other information useful for identifying the item.

Bibliographic Instruction - Teaching library research skills.

Book Leasing Program - Books that are rented for a period of time and then returned to the vendor.

BRAC - Base Realignment and Closures. Shifts in population caused by BRAC are having significant impact on Maryland libraries and other educational institutions.

- Creation of a bibliographic record that describes a title and provides access points such as title, author, series and subjects.

CEUs - Continuing Education Units. Librarians and library associates are required by DLDS to earn nine Continuing Education Units every five years to ensure recertification. Ten CEUs make up one credit. Staff, therefore, need to earn ninety units for recertification within a five year period.

Circulation Services - Employees who handle the day to day processing of books (checking in, checking out, and delivery). Circulation staff also take the lead on working with patron fines and blocked accounts.

Collection Development or Management - The process of selecting and purchasing of new materials for the library, as well as weeding older, outdated, or damaged materials.

Databases - A structured record or collection of data stored in a computer.

DCLA - District of Columbia Library Association.

Dewey Decimal System - A system of library classification developed by Melvil Dewey that attempts to classify all knowledge into ten
main classes, which are then subdivided into more specific classes. See

- Division of Library Development & Services, a division of the Maryland State Department of Education .

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EAN - European Article Number, similar to a UPC (Universal Product Code), is a barcoding standard of thirteen digits, used to identify a book or other item. The EAN is replacing the 10-digit ISBN.

EPFL - Enoch Pratt Free Library.

ESRL - Eastern Shore Regional Library- regional resource center providing resources and services to support its eight member libraries' abilities to serve their customers.

- A collaborative creation and management of subject tags to identify and categorize content. Unlike the more traditional subject indexing, metadata is created by experts as well as users of the content. Folksonomies are composed of keywords rather than controlled vocabulary whose creation depends on experts. Examples of folksonomies can be seen in Web 2.0 content in sites such as Flickr,, Library Thing, and even AquaBrowser.

Genre - Books or items of the same category, such as mysteries, westerns, or romances . 

Information/Reference Staff - Librarians and library associates who provided resources to library patrons in answering their queries.
Services can be provided in person in the library or electronically through a virtual reference service.

ILL - Interlibrary Loan – a cooperative system of borrowing among libraries in the larger library community around the country.

IFAP - Intellectual Freedom Panel of the Maryland Library Association.

IMLS - Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Intellectual Freedom - “Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement
may be explored.” (from the ALA Website - )

ISBN - International Standard Book Number – a number assigned to each unique title of a book to identify it.

LATI - Library Associate Training Institute.

Leading from any Position - A workshop desiged to provide new ways to motivate, problem solve, delegate, and build courage/confidence in staff.

Library Bill of Rights - ALA’s six guiding policies that ensure intellectual freedom and access to information for library patrons -

LITA - Library and Information Technology Association. Division of the American Library Association.

LSTA - Library Services and Technology Act.

MAILL - Maryland Interlibrary Loan group--open to all interlibrary loan personnel in MD.

MAPLA - Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators.

MARAC - Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

MARC record - Machine-Readable Cataloging record. MARC standards in a catalog consist of formats that provide bibliographic
information about books and other library materials.

MARC tag - A field in a MARC record that contains a specific type of information about a title; for exxample the MARC tag 260 contains information about the publisher.

MARINA - An interlibrary loan network comprised of Maryland public libraries.

MASL - Maryland Association of School Librarians.

MILEX - Maryland Information Literacy Exchange. Maryland academic librarians focused on teaching library research skills.

MILO - Maryland Interlibrary Loan Organization.

MLA - Maryland Library Association.

MLLI - Maryland Library Leadership Institute.

MPERL - Maryland Public Electronic Resources Librarians Group.

MSDE - Maryland State Department of Education.

MSRS - Maryland State Retirement System.

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OCLC - Online Computer Library Center, founded in 1967 as a nonprofit library service dedicated to furthering information access.

Original Bib record - An original bibliographic record of an item in the system created by HCPL Technical Services staff, if no record is available through OCLC.

Page - Is a person in the library that reshelves books and does the pull/send list.

PLA - Public Library Association - a division of the American Library Association.

Professional Collection - A collection of resource materials for library professionals; generally, this collection is available for staff use only.

PSD - Public Services Division of the Maryand Library Association.

REFORMA - Association devoted to the promotion of services to Latinos and Spanish speakers. It is an ALA affiliate.

RFID - Radio Frequency Identification

Sailor - Maryland’s public information network, a project of Maryland public libraries, Sailor leverages Internet technology to aid resident access to information.

SLRC - State Library Resource Center – Housed in the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Branch, SLRC provides materials, information, and services to all citizens of Maryland.

SMRLA - Southern Maryland Regional Library Association - regional resource center located in Southern Maryland.  It provides services for Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties.

- Strict on Sale Date

SRP - Summer Reading Program (See below.)

Standing Orders - Orders that are filled automatically

Substitute Staff - People who are available to work temporarily for another staff members.

Summer Reading Program -- A library reading program that encourages children to maintain their reading skills over the summer.

Talking books - Audiobooks on tape or CDs

Vendors - Companies that provide materials and services to the library, such as book companies or database providers.

YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association – a division of ALA devoted to serving young adult:

WMRL – Western Maryland Regional Library - Regional Resource Center for Allegany, Garrett and Washington County library systems in Western Maryland

 WRP- Winter Reading Program – a reading program for adults and young adults during winter months.