Just like architects and designers use words in a way that non-professionals don't understand, librarians too have specialized words.
Pretty much every dicipline has its own vocabulary, which is important to remember as you research a particular building type or program the space.
Young Adult / Teen / Adolescent
Reference / Circulation / Information Commons / Makerspaces
Shelves / Stacks / Movable Shelving
Multimedia / Ebooks / Electronic Resources
Universal Design / ADA Compliant / Accessible
ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award - biennial competition co-sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). The competition is managed by the LLAMA Buildings and Equipment Section (BES) Interior Design Awards Committee.
2015 AIA / ALA Library Building Awards - the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association/Library Administration and Management Association created this award to distinguish accomplishments in library architecture. Previous Years' Here
Once you have a basic idea of what your topic is, you'll need to get an idea of the big picture. What are the major issues involved in your topic? What are the terms associated with it?
Based on your findings in books and reference sources, you'll want to narrow down your topic so that you can focus on a few main points. A few ways to do this are:
-Look at the terms used by authors of general works
-Look for the main concepts or issues mentioned in general sources
-Look at citations in general sources (the bibliography at the end of a reference article) or for mentions of experts in the field
Image from BPL