Around the World in 30 Seconds

David Turshyan, Librarian, International Languages Department,
LAPL image
LAPL image

Imagine traveling around the world in thirty seconds, while looking at thirty books – each in a different language. That’s one book per second. Imagine the treasures to be discovered in this short amount of time. Is this possible? Yes, indeed, if we have the knowledge of deciphering a letter code.

The International Languages houses books on a variety of subjects in thirty different languages, and they are identified by a letter code: from Ar (Arabic) to Y (Yiddish). The letter code is located at the beginning of the call number, and usually consists of one or two letters, with the exception of Pil (Pilipino) and Pol (Polish) – three letters. In rare cases, punctuation marks are also used, such as a period after F. (French) – to make a distinction from Folio books. The short video – Around the World in 30 Seconds – unlocks all the letter codes.

The letter codes unlocked are our passports to the magical journey around the world. What can bring us closer to any culture, place or idea, than a book in the original language? In addition to the thirty letter-code languages, the International houses dictionaries and language learning treasures in over five hundred languages and dialects, traveling to us from far and wide and bringing with them a little touch of the world.

Imagine holding the world in the palms of our hands.