Definition of library in English:



  • 1A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to.

    ‘a school library’
    [as modifier] ‘a library book’
    • ‘When interrupted or just merely looking up, common places like my bedroom, the library or my school gym are foreign to me.’
    • ‘It's easier to borrow the book from a public library or buy it from a second-hand bookshop.’
    • ‘By publicly borrowing library books, patrons forfeit any constitutional protections they may have had in their reading habits.’
    • ‘So a university gets a new library building but no funds for new books.’
    • ‘For sixty years the Geology Museum remained in the public library building.’
    • ‘He was led through the library, study rooms and multimedia centre.’
    • ‘It was raining when I left home, heading to university to return my library book to stop the fine accruing at $3 a day.’
    • ‘Further, we found a severe lack of Latino children's literature in the libraries and classrooms of schools in this study.’
    • ‘Students in year three and four were given two days off, and are now back at the school using the library as a temporary classroom.’
    • ‘Children may not be able to return to a school in September after a £1m fire devastated four classrooms, a library and a hall.’
    • ‘This included various workshops and activities and visiting speakers were available to youngsters in the library and the school hall.’
    • ‘Showmen would also tour schools, libraries and concert halls with the apparatus showing off the latest film slides.’
    • ‘The students can then access the presentation at the school library at his/her convenience.’
    • ‘When I was a lad, all those years ago, I was an assistant to the Librarian at Queens' College, Cambridge, a post which gave me access to the inner sanctum of the library.’
    • ‘So you look at the overall campus and you look at lots and lots of rooms: libraries, dorm rooms, classrooms, cubicles and so forth.’
    • ‘Students are considering the energy sources in their own dorms, libraries and classrooms and then working to harness this buying power to create a clean energy revolution.’
    • ‘A newspaper dating from 1867 was one of three items found in a glass bottle in the wall cavity between the school library and a classroom.’
    • ‘I researched sailboat building at our town library and Boston Public Library.’
    • ‘In 1911 the collection was placed on view in a third-floor gallery at the new public library building at Forty-second Street.’
    • ‘Each month 10 per cent of all book sales to library members goes back to the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library for the purchase of new books.’
    1. 1.1A collection of books and periodicals held in a library.
      ‘the Institute houses an outstanding library of 35,000 volumes on the fine arts’
      • ‘It is not surprising then that the young Abdurrahman was encouraged to debate ideas and issues and to read widely in his father's extensive library.’
      • ‘This volume belongs in all college and research libraries, and in scholars' professional collections.’
      • ‘A few Italian book collectors began to amass libraries of unprecedented proportions: one cardinal is said to have had as many as 15,000 books.’
      • ‘This practical guide for pedagogy students and teachers is a welcome addition to our collective libraries.’
      • ‘Readers with deep pockets should feel free to purchase this W.B. Yeats second issue for my library.’
      • ‘The museum houses a library with about 60,000 books related to Gandhi and the various causes he espoused.’
      • ‘Like family heirlooms, libraries and research collections gain luster with age and use.’
      • ‘Many people who would not think of themselves as collectors amass considerable libraries in their lifetime.’
      • ‘I trust that you will find this issue a welcome addition to your library.’
      • ‘His annotated score, as well as a beautifully bound presentation copy signed by every member of the orchestra, is among the thousands of scores and sound recordings in the library.’
      • ‘They visited the stables, admiring the horses, and settled in to read from the extensive library Geoff had collected.’
      • ‘Onboard, take advantage of the research library and expert naturalists.’
    2. 1.2A collection of films, recorded music, genetic material, etc., organized systematically and kept for research or borrowing.
      ‘a record library’
      • ‘Start your library by researching other denominational hymnals.’
      • ‘‘He's simpatico with the culture and has a whole library of recorded sounds from that area,’ Karp said.’
      • ‘Often, I've found, it's just the coincidental timing of first hearing and life events that have made them assume a special place in the recording library inside my head.’
      • ‘This is not a recording to build a library with, then.’
      • ‘This includes photo libraries, research databases and detailed archives.’
      • ‘One may lament the absence of a libretto but the CD version will probably be in most collectors' libraries anyway.’
      • ‘Experts analysing the anthrax used in the US attacks are comparing its DNA with a library of strains collected worldwide.’
      • ‘He left behind a much smaller library of recorded works than Sun Ra, but what a collection it is.’
      • ‘The archive functions as a dance library and research center, much like the New York City Public Library's Dance Collection.’
    3. 1.3A series of books, recordings, etc., issued by the same company and similar in appearance.
      • ‘A Dutch publisher plans to release the complete series in a library of 12 hardcovers.’
    4. 1.4A room in a private house where books are kept.
      • ‘The villa had running water, underfloor heating, bathing facilities, two libraries, a reception room and bedrooms surrounding an internal patio.’
      • ‘The castle has a panelled dining room, a library, a billiards room and a grand hall.’
      • ‘The property includes eight bedrooms, a library, study, a conservatory, and two wine cellars.’
      • ‘The library and drawing room looked almost normal compared to the bizarre collection of marble busts, classical casts and ancient antiquities that covered the walls of the rooms behind.’
      • ‘The floating glass divider turns up again to encapsulate a private library and two guest bedrooms.’
      • ‘It is a single-family four-bedroom house, with a living room, dining room, library, kitchen, two bathrooms, yard and garage.’
      • ‘You can use the kitchen, the library, the living room.’
      • ‘The bedrooms are linked to the bathrooms, dressing rooms, libraries and anterooms.’
      • ‘The house has two studies, a library, a 15 ft kitchen, dining room, family room, sitting room, drawing room and two bathrooms.’
      • ‘After adding on more casual spaces, he'll turn a little-used living room into a library, study, or game room.’
      • ‘After the game room came the three guest rooms, the kitchen, the library, the informal living room and Rob's bedroom.’
      • ‘For the same money, you can buy a three-bedroom Greek beach house with a sitting room, library, fitted kitchen and bathroom.’
      • ‘It includes a library, kitchen, four main bedrooms, a dressing room, two bathrooms, three further attic bedrooms and a study.’
      • ‘He was cordial and invited me to his small private drawing room and library.’
      • ‘Dominic's room was more like a hotel luxury suite complete with a living room and a private library.’
      • ‘Downstairs there is a library, living room, terrace and a kitchen and dining area.’
      • ‘Along the cool corridors are private dining rooms, libraries, a gymnasium, and Turkish baths.’
      • ‘It had a dining room, spacious living room with a central fireplace, an impressive kitchen, a small breakfast room, a large library and a sitting room.’
      • ‘There are two formal reception rooms on the ground floor, as well as a kitchen, breakfast room, library, study, conservatory and guest bathroom.’
      • ‘The ground floor also features a library and dining room.’
      study, studio, library
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Computing A collection of programs and software packages made generally available, often loaded and stored on disk for immediate use.
      • ‘That said, backward-compatibility is a relatively new feature for consoles - for a long time, buying a next-generation machine meant leaving your software library behind.’
      • ‘He reckons it will take 18 months to get the 4,000 programs in the software library built, and has taken the CD off the market.’
      • ‘At under $20 per title, however, these are great recommendations for a family's home software library, as well as for a teacher's free-time area.’
      • ‘Update the software library to get rid of old software versions, beta versions and out of date service packs.’
      • ‘All [customers] need to do is buy a camera, and the software library and toolkit do the analysis.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin libraria bookshop feminine (used as a noun) of librarius relating to books from liber, libr- book.