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High School to College Transition: Finding books, films, etc.

Library Catalogs

Each University Library will have its own name for the electronic library catalog.  Vanderbilt's catalog is called Library Catalog, the University of Georgia calls its catalog GIL@UGA and Kansas just refers to the KU Library Catalog.

Search Library Catalog

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A Combination of Open Stacks and Paging Systems

Open Stacks

Leisure Reading

Open Stacks:

Most materials held by libraries on university campuses will be available to you in open stacks. This means that once you locate an item using the library catalog, you will be able to go to the stacks (or shelves) yourself to take a look. 

Paging Systems:

There will also be items held in storage either in a special location in the library, somewhere else on campus, or off-campus that you may request using a paging system. These are often older, rare or seldom used items.

Borrow a Book, DVD, etc.:

If you want to check-out a book or other library materials, you would then take it to the circulation desk. If you need help locating an item, you may ask at a service desk (often called a reference or circulation or information desk).

Classification Systems

The two main classification systems used by university libraries in the U.S. are:

Library of Congress

Dewey Decimal System

You might also find a library with its own classification system for some portion of the collection - especially for non-print media or older titles. Ask at a service desk if you need help with finding the materials you're interested in viewing.

Library Lingo

catalog
A catalog contains records, with detailed descriptions and location information, of the materials in a library collection.

check out, charge out
To borrow materials from a library for a fixed period of time.

circulation desk
The area where you can check out, return, or renew library materials.

Reference (or Service) Desk
The place in the library where reference librarians and assistants give you directions, answer your questions, and show you how to find and use library materials. The desk is usually located near reference materials.

stacks
Areas of a library where books and periodicals are shelved.

Definitions from the University of Maryland Libraries' Library Lingo dictionary.