A final cool feature of Lightroom is the ability to hide the surrounding panes individually and make the main window larger by simply clicking on the small arrows at the NESW compass points on the screen. My only complaint about this feature is the annoying habit of those panes reappearing when the cursor is moved to the left or right of the screen.
The left side panel has a number of navigational, organisational and search functions. The top heading is the navigator, which allows you to zoom in and around the image in a manner similar to the navigator in Photoshop. It also displays images from the filmstrip when the cursor is moved over them.
The Library heading shows how many pictures are in the library as well as letting you display on the last imported photos (if you've done multiple imports into the same catalogue. There's also a Quick Collection sub header allowing you to select and place images into a collection and only show those images. Adding pictures to a Quick Collection is done by right clicking and selecting the option from the menu or by going to Photo> Add to Quick Collection (Shortcut B).
The next heading is Find, which lets you search images by metadata, keywords, or filenames as well as date and much more. The Folders section shows the location of the files and you can browse the folder individually or view the whole library.
Collections are really useful. You can select images and add them to a named collection, which is useful when you have lots of images of different subjects and want to organise them into cohesive collections. Click the + button to create and them name the collection, then you can select the collections individually and browse and search through those in that collection.
If you added keywords, the next heading, called Keywords funnily enough, will allow you to select images based on that, an option which is especially useful for stock photographers. The Metadata option will let you browse images via the camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, camera make and do on, as well as date or location (if added).