Public Library Glossary

This glossary presents a brief list of words and acronyms commonly used in public libraries in New York State.

3 R’s: New York’s nine Reference and Research Library Resources Systems.

Chapter 414 of the Laws of 1995: (municipal ballot option): State law that allows for voter funding initiatives for both association and public libraries. [Education Law §259 (1)(b)].

Chapter 917 of the Laws of 1990: State legislation providing for changes to Education Law provisions regarding State funding for libraries and library systems.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act): The ADA is considered to be the most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. [Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-336]

ALA: American Library Association.

BIBFRAME (Bibliographic Framework): This is a data model for bibliographic description designed to replace the MARC standard.

BOCES: Boards of Cooperative Education Services.

Broadband: A general term referring to high speed telecommunications connections regardless of the medium (fiber optic, wire, cable or wireless) utilized.

CBA: Central (Library) Book Aid.

Capital Funds: Funds for the acquisition of, or addition to, fixed assets such as buildings or major equipment.  Often kept separate from annual operating funds.

Cataloging: The process of describing an item in a library collection and assigning it a classification (call) number.

Charter: The document of incorporation granted to a public library by the New York State Board of Regents.

CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act): A federal law governing Internet access in schools and libraries.  Compliance with CIPA is mandatory for eligibility for most e-rate subsidies and LSTA funding. [Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-554]

Circulation: The process of lending library materials.

DLD (Division of Library Development): DLD is the division of the New York State Library within the State Education Department responsible for the oversight of library funding and compliance with related State laws and Commissioner’s Regulations.

DPLA: Digital Public Library of America.

DRM (Digital Rights Management): DRM technology is used by hardware and software manufacturers, publishers and copyright holders with the intent to control the use of digitalcontent and devices.

e-book: The electronic version of a print book or a book that is only available online.

Education Law 259.1State law that determines tax support for libraries. 

E-Rate: Federal program that provides discounts to libraries and schools for commercially available telecommunications services, Internet connectivity and internal connections.

Empire State Library Network: State organization for the Reference and Research Library Resources Councils, dedicated to promote cooperation and development among the state’s academic and special libraries. Formerly known as the New York Three Rs Association.


Free Direct Access: The ability to borrow library materials in person from a public library outside your community.

Friends of Libraries Section (FLS): Section of the New York Library Association that supports library Friends Groups.

ILL (Interlibrary Loan): Interlibrary Loan is when one library lends materials to another library for its patron’s use.

IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services): An independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities.

ILS (Integrated Library System) ILP (Integrated Library Platform): Integrated library (automation) systems provide libraries with a variety of integrated computerized functions – cataloging, circulation, online catalog, acquisitions, serials control and electronic resource management.

ISBN: International Standard Book Number.

ISSN: International Standard Serial Number.

LC (Library of Congress): The national library of the United States.

LTA (Library Trustees Association of New York State): New York’s statewide association for library boards and trustees.

LLSA (Local Library Services Aid): The New York State aid program for local public libraries.  Funds are distributed through the public library systems.

LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act): A long standing federal library aid program for libraries.  Funds are used to support national initiatives through support of state programs and grants to libraries and library systems on a competitive basis.

MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging): MARC is a format for storing the bibliographic description of a book, serial, video, etc. on a computer.  The MARC format is an international standard used by most libraries and library computer software vendors.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS): A federal program through the Library of Congress that provides recorded digital books for the blind and those with physical disabilities.

NOVELNY (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library): A statewide program of the New York State Library that provides free public access to commercial databases and other electronic resources.

NY3Rs: State organization for the Reference and Research Library Resources Councils, dedicated to promote cooperation and development among the state’s academic and special libraries. Now known as the Empire State Library Network.

NYLA (New York Library Association): 
New York’s statewide library association.

NYALS (New York Alliance of Library Systems): A coalition of public, school and 3Rs Systems in New York.

NYLINE: New York’s Libraries Information Network listserv operated by the New York State Library. All are welcomed to join.

NYLTO: New York Libraries Trustees Online.

NYSL: New York State Library.

OCLC: OCLC is a bibliographic utility used by nearly 27,000 libraries, archives and museums in 86 countries.

OGS (Office of General Services (NYS): Administers state procurement contracts for goods, services and technology.

OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog): A computerized catalog, which can be searched, edited and updated online.  Many OPACS are now simply one module of an integrated library system.

PLA (Public Library Association): A division of the American Library Association.

PLS: Public Library System or Public Library Section of the New York Library Association.

Provisional Charter: The initial incorporation document granted to a public library by the Board of Regents.  Provisional charters are issued for five years.  A library with a provisional charter may apply for an absolute (permanent) charter after meeting state standards and fulfilling registration requirements.

PULISDO (Public Library System Directors Organization of New York State): The statewide association of Public Library System Directors.

RBDB (Regional Bibliographic Data Bases Program): State funds that may be used for a variety of purposes to benefit regional resource sharing technology in each NY3Rs region.

RAC (Regents Advisory Council): A standing advisory committee appointed by the Regents to review and advise the Board of Regents on library issues and concerns.

RFID (Radio-frequency Identification): A technology used to automate the handling of library materials.

Registration: The process by which libraries demonstrate compliance with Commissioner’s Regulation 90.2. (Minimum Standards).  A library must maintain its registration to collect local and state funds.

SED (State Education Department): The state agency responsible for educational services, including libraries.

SLS (School Library Systems): Similar to public library cooperatives, these organizations exist to promote resource sharing and library development in school libraries.

SLSA (School Library Systems Association, Inc.): The statewide organization for School Library Systems.

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (aka STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art & math).

TDD/TTY: Telecommunications devices for the hearing impaired.

Union Catalog / County Catalog: Public library systems are mandated by the state to provide a “locator file” of the book holdings of the public libraries in their service area.

United For Libraries: A division of the American Library Association that provides support and networking for Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations.

Unserved Area: Refers to regions of the state without a chartered and registered public library.

USA PATRIOT ACT / USA FREEDOM ACT: Federal legislation that, among many other provisions, governs access to library records in certain circumstances by law enforcement agencies.

Last Updated: January 7, 2016