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WT 197 Using the Library

Teacher Tips and Answers


WT 197

Page 197

Using the Library

Your school or city library is your portal to information. In person, you’ll find books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and music. Online, you’ll find a database of encyclopedia articles, ebooks, dictionaries, atlases, and much more. Libraries aren’t just for reports. They help you explore any topic you care about!

Finding Your Way

This chapter explains how libraries are organized and how you can find information. Best of all, your library has friendly librarians who know their way around the resources and can help you find exactly what you need.

Library Train
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WT 198

Page 198

Searching the Computer Catalog

The computer catalog lists materials in your library and others in your system. After reading the directions on the screen, you can search for information in three main ways:

    1. Title Search: If you know all or part of the title you need, enter it in the search box. Keywords are more important than words like a, an, or the.

    Title Search
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    2. Author Search: If you know the name of the author, enter it. Make sure you spell the person’s name correctly.

    Author Search
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    3. Subject Search: If you don’t have specific materials in mind, type in the topic that you have chosen. Once again, keywords are most important.

    Subject Search
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Viewing Search Results

When you press “Enter,” you will see a list of materials. Click on the title that interests you. Then you will see key information about the material. Look for these details:

     🟪 Status tells if the resource is available or checked out.
     🟪 Location tells you which part of the library has the material, or which library in your system has it.
     🟪 Call number helps you find the material, so write it down. (See page 201 for more about call numbers.)

WT 199

Page 199

Sample Nonfiction Search Result

Any of the searches on page 198 would lead to the following book entry. Note author, location, and call number.

Sample Nonfiction Search Result
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WT 200

Page 200

Sample Fiction Search Result

You can also find fiction books in your computer catalog. Novels are shelved alphabetically by author’s last name.

Sample Fiction Search Result
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WT 201

Page 201

Finding a Book

Once you’ve gotten search results for a book, write down the call number. The call number helps you find a book on the shelves.

Finding Nonfiction

Nonfiction (factual) books are arranged on the shelves in number order. Here are some things you need to know:
     🟪 Some call numbers have one or more letters at the end. The book with the call number 973A comes before 973B on the shelf.
     🟪 Some call numbers have decimals, like 973.19, which comes before 973.2. These books may be harder to find. Ask the librarian for help if you need it.

Finding Fiction

Fiction books are arranged together on special shelves.
     🟪 Fiction books are in ABC order by the author’s last name.
     🟪 Some fiction books have the first two letters of the author’s last name on the spine, like CL for Beverly Cleary.

Finding Biographies

Biographies have their own shelves, too.
     🟪 Biographies are arranged by the call number 921 and the first letters of the subject’s last name. A biography about Abe Lincoln would be 921 LIN.

WT 202

Page 202

Using a Library Database

A database is a collection of information that your library subscribes to and makes available to you online.

Finding the Database

Go to your library’s website and click on the “Resources” tab. It will take you to a number of resources, including a database with a name like “BadgerLink.” Click on it to access many resources like these:
    Britannica School Elementary and Explora for Elementary Schools are online encyclopedias of articles, images, maps, and games. Read about everything from aardvarks to zoology. You can even double-click words for definitions, pronunciations, and Spanish translations.
    Britannica Escolar is a Spanish-language version of Britannica School Elementary.
    NoveList K–8 is a fiction recommendation resource that contains all your favorite books and helps you find similar titles at your reading level. You can also use discussion guides and reading lists.
    Primary Search offers access to nearly 100 full-text popular children’s magazines on a variety of topics including endangered species, musicians, fitness, and space exploration. It also includes access to encyclopedia articles and dictionary entries.


Turn to page 207 to find out more about online encyclopedias.

WT 203

Page 203

Understanding the Parts of a Book

Books are easier to use when you understand their parts. All books have some of the following parts:
     🟪 The title page is usually the first page with printing on it. It gives the title of the book, the author’s name, the publisher’s name, and the city where the book was published.
     🟪 The copyright page comes next. It gives the year the book was published. This can be important. An old book may have information that is no longer correct.
     🟪 The table of contents tells the names and page numbers of the chapters and sections in the book.
     🟪 The chapter and section headings tell what type of information is covered in each part of a book.
     🟪 The captions give important information about photographs, illustrations, or graphics. They are located near the pictures.
     🟪 The glossary explains special words used in the book. It’s like a mini-dictionary. Usually the glossary is near the back of a book.
     🟪 The index is an ABC list of all the topics in the book. It also gives the page number where each topic is covered. The index is at the very back of the book.

(You can work with these book parts by completing this activity.)

Library Train
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Vocabulary List:
  • library: gathering point for information and entertainment

Vocabulary List:
  • computer catalog: digital listing of the resources available through the library

  • title search: finding a resource by entering its title

  • author search: finding resources by entering the author's name

  • title search: finding resources by entering an area of interest

  • status: whether a resource is available

  • location: place where a resource can be found

  • call number: identifier used to shelve and retrieve resources

Vocabulary List:
  • nonfiction: resources that provide information about real people, places, things, and ideas

  • fiction: resources about made-up people, places, things, and ideas

  • biography: nonfiction story of someone's life

Vocabulary List:
  • database: digital collection of information

Vocabulary List:
  • title page: page listing the title, author, city of publication, and publisher

  • copyright page: page that tells when a book is published and gives legal information about it

  • table of contents: listing of chapters and page numbers within a book

  • chapters and sections: divisions that organize the material in a book

  • caption: words that provide key information about an image, a chart, or a table

  • glossary: listing of important words and their definitions

  • index: alphabetical list of topics and page numbers

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