“I Can’t Understand My Librarian.”

Twitter user: chrisdude: “I was in the library and I went TO ‘the stacks,’ and I still don’t know what that means.”

For those who have heard this idiom used by librarians but have never learned what the phrase means, ‘the stacks’ refers to the open shelves that any library user can browse through (i.e., anywhere you can find a book, pick it up, and read it/check it out.).

Librarians have a lot of common terminology that can be confusing to anyone unfamiliar to it, just like any subculture. Yes, librarians have their own subculture just like skaters, tweeps, Twilight fans, and bloggers. I was a part-time employee for months before I learned what other librarians meant when they would tell me to “go look in the stacks.”

Some other terms we use that spaz our users (and ourselves):

  • monograph
  • patron
  • reference
  • information literacy
  • resource sharing
  • collection
  • OPAC :: Library catalog :: “The catalog”


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