School Library Website – Vocabulary

Words like databases, MARC records, or weeding have a specific meaning for librarians. For example, if I tell another teacher I am busy weeding, they may think I am in the school garden. Instead, I am following protocol to remove outdated books from the library.

When creating our school library web pages, users may not have the same understanding of certain words. For example, a young learner may not know that the library catalog link will take them to a page listing books in the school library. A catalog is not a common word used by most learners. What words would a learner recognize?  For my library website, I changed the links to “books” and “search for books”.

Books example

What other terms do school librarians commonly use that learners do not recognize?


  • Review your home page to see the library terms used.
  • Review your navigation.  Do you use words that students would recognize to access different pages on your site?
  • Ask students to provide a description of what they think each link/term means.  Is the description what you intended?

For more information about updating your school library website, visit two other earlier posts.

School Library Website – User Friendly and Learner Centered: Provides a brief overview of how to start analyzing your school library website that is user friendly and learner centered.

School Library Website – Layout: Discusses the layout of important items on a page and how to improve the layout for users.

In the comments, let us know what terms you use on your library site to describe library vocabulary.

Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Technology


2 replies

  1. Yes, we like other professions have our own vocab – about halfway through my first year our building tech manager who shared the library office with me sat me down for a very serious conversation telling me he was concerned about me as a married women spending so much time with this person named Marc Records – it took all I had not to burst out laughing and explain. In later years in reading over the sessions for an ISTE conference I attended I mistakenly thought a session of improving your LMS meant Library Media Specialist but instead it was on Learning Management Systems which wasn’t as useful.

  2. Years ago when I was presenting to our administration, the assistant superintendent (instruction) pulled me aside and let me know that I was speaking “libraryese” and most of my audience had no idea what I was talking about.
    I took that to heart and have explained all library words/terms as simply as possible.

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