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Learn English: Library words

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Libraries in Australia have resources that you can use to improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening. You can borrow books, DVDs, newspapers and magazines. Let's learn about vocabulary that you will find at a library.


'Fiction' is a category of books, and is a noun for stories that are imagined or made up. Novels and poetry are examples of fiction texts.


'Non-fiction' is another category of books, which is a noun for stories that are based on true events and facts. A dictionary or a book about grammar rules are examples of non-fiction texts.

Arabic books lined up on library shelves
Many Australian libraries have books and resources available in other languages, including Arabic and Chinese.



A library's catalogue is a record of every resource available in their collection. It can be accessed on a library computer or through a library's website.

Check out, borrow, loan

To 'check out' means to 'borrow' a library resource. Another word for a borrowed item is a 'loan'.

When you 'check out' an item, you will need to 'scan' your library card.

A library building at the top of a row of stairs
Max Webber library in the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown.



When your borrowing period has ended, you will need to return the borrowed item/s. You can return your items by putting them into a 'returns chute'. This is normally located near the entrance of a library.

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