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Volunteers @ the Library: P and R


PAC - Public Access Catalog. An electronic "card catalog" for the public, usually an online catalog connected directly to the library computer files. Public access can be in the library or remote such as by dial-up or via the Internet.

PC - Personal Computer. Generic term for a microcomputer.

PERIODICAL - A type of serial publication which is issued regularly and generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which is numbered and dated consecutively and contains separate stories, articles, and other writings. For example, a magazine.

PERIODICAL INDEX - A subject index to a group of periodicals, usually issued at short intervals and cumulated (an example is The Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature).

PLA - Public Library Association. A division of the American Library Association focused on public libraries.

PROJECT EVALUATION - An objective appraisal of the results of the project, which includes measurable comparison of statistics and numbers. Evaluation should examine and compare the before and after results of the service or product such as circulation, total attendance, shelf space, rate of increase, etc. It must include methods chosen to judge the effectiveness and success of the project as well as a stated time period for the process of evaluation.

PROJECT RATIONALE - The underlining reason for doing a project or developing a new service as it pertains to a library's mission statement, goals, and long-range plan. The rationale should be the basis for stating the importance and relevance of a project related to analysis of the community's needs and future of the library.

PROJECT TIMELINE - A prospective schedule of events and procedures for the project. A time line must contain specific dates (by July 1st) or specific time periods (such as 3-months) to outline the entire process of the project. The time line should include the research period, the planning process, the implementation of the project and the evaluation period to be complete.

PUBLIC LIBRARY - A library or library system that provides general library services and unrestricted access without charge to all residents of a given community, district, or geographic region, and is supported wholly or in part by public funds.


RDA - Designed for the digital world and an expanding universe of metadata users, RDA: Resource Description and Access is the new, unified cataloging standard that replaced AACR2.

READERS’ ADVISORY - A service to library users where library staff, familiar with reading needs and interests, advise or recommend specific titles to users; reader's advisory also involves compiling reading lists by genre, theme, or subject.

READY OR QUICK REFERENCE - A part of reference service concerned with questions of a factual nature which can be answered readily, often from dictionaries, almanacs, directories, and other standard sources.

REFERENCE COLLECTION - Library books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias shelved together in a special location known as the reference stacks. Reference books usually may not be checked out because they are needed by library staff to answer questions from library users.

REFERENCE SERVICE - The various kinds of professional assistance, including ready or quick reference and online searching, provided to library users in their pursuit of information and research.

REFERENCE INTERVIEW - The interpersonal communication between a reference staff member and a library user to determine the precise information needs of the user.

RESEARCH GUIDE – Also referred to as a LibGuide.  An electronic resource that gathers information on a topic in a single webpage to assist an individual in learning.

RESEARCH LIBRARY - A library that contains an in-depth collection for exhaustive investigation in a particular subject field, such as a technical library, or in several subject fields, such as a university library.

RETROCON - Retrospective Conversion. The process of converting information from traditional catalog cards to an electronic format. Usually called retrospective because it involves previously-cataloged material.

RFP - Request for proposal. The document issued to advertise for vendor proposals, such as automation, equipment and/or software. Usually the RFP contains detailed specifications of the goods or services wanted.

ROLE SELECTION - Roles are broadly defined categories of service. Role selection is a step in the planning process in which a library selects the roles it will play in the community. Eight different roles are described in Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries, published by the American Library Association, 1987.

RUSA – Reference and User Services Association. A Division of the American Library Association.

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