Proposed features/amenity=library dropoff

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Example of a library dropoff box
Proposal status: Voting (under way)
Proposed by: JPinAR
Tagging: amenity=library_dropoff
Applies to: node
Definition: A remote dropoff location for a library.

Drafted on: 2021-06-16
RFC start: 2021-10-19
Vote start: 2022-06-24
Vote end: 2022-07-08


A place where library patrons can return or drop-off books other than the library itself as a matter of convivence. This often look like bin with hatches that only allow for delivery into the repository or bin.

This would be a node only, I'm open to input on it also being an area but these are typically fairly small box-like structure, and differs from a amenity=library which is understood by most to be the physical building where the collection of books resides. A drop-off on the other hand is only used for drop-off not checkout or delivery.


This is an amenity=* same as an amenity=library but is distinct from amenity=library in that is both has it's own unique tagging requirements that a library doesn't and inversely doesn't have or need many of the tags a library would. The only tags they would share would be the tags one might use to relate the two. I get into these difference more in the tagging section below.

These are clearly physical locations that can be mapped and are locations that library patrons do commonly search online in mapping platforms attempting to locate the nearest drop-off location regardless of if that is the main physical location where the collection resides or a drop-off only location like what I'm proposing.

As far as name selection I did want to keep the term library in the amenity=* value name as I see library book drop-offs as parallel to libraries but no necessarily the same. As for the '_dropoff' ending of the tag I looked for a short term commonly understood in the British vernacular and this seemed like the best most concise fit.


Use the tag amenity=library_dropoff on a node node. A single standalone node would be the most suitable way to map a small detail like a drop-off location as most a just boxes a couple meters wide.

Contrasting amenity=library and amenity=library_dropoff

Although I can see the argument for this being a add-on tag to amenity=library there are a number of tags that relate to amenity=library that would not related to amenity=library_dropoff like internet_access=*, air_conditioning=*, baby_feeding=*, payment=*, or phone=* while inversely there are tags that would likely apply to a amenity=library_dropoff that wouldn't apply to a amenity=library like collection_times=*, lit=*, and colour=*.

As for related tags I might see amenity=library and amenity=library_dropoff having in common would be ones that relate the drop-off back to the main physical library such as name=*, ref:isil=*, operator=*, and operator:type=*

Additional Tags

The additional tags for amenity=library_dropoff that I would see and suggest are:

  • collection_times=* - When are books collected and marked as returned to the library
  • name=* - Descriptive Name for the location
  • ref:isil=* - International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organisations (ISIL)
  • operator=* - Descriptor for operator
  • operator:type=* - public/private/government/religious... see the tags wiki for more
  • lit=* - if the drop off location lit
  • colour=* - what colour is the drop off, if applicable

An alternative solution I am amenable to

This may sound like an odd comparison but a amenity=library_dropoff has a lot more in common with the amenity=waste_basket tag than it does with the amenity=library tag in that it's a place where people drop their stuff at for someone else to come by and pick-up later.

That said amenity=waste_basket has some key modifiers that completely change it's meaning/usage. On it's own amenity=waste_basket is just a trash can/waste basket but if you add tags like waste=dog_excrement/waste=cigarettes/waste=organic either it's form, function, or both change to something else entirely including what additional tags make sense. The exception to this is the recycling_type=container because I guess recycling isn't waste exactly. *shrug* I guess I get it.

To this point I do see a possible alternative treatment where instead of amenity=library_dropoff as a distinct node from amenity=library alternatively a amenity=library + library=dropoff or library=book_drop combination tag could be used. Per my explanation above I think that amenity=library are far more distinct than they are similar but I at least respect and recognize that there could be good reasoning for keeping a library book drop under the amenity=library umbrella. That said I can't think of any additional library=* values that would strength the use case for this route.

I guess that is why Request for Comment (RFC) is for to let others in the community to weight in so I'd love to hear thoughts on this from anyone that thinks there is a stronger use case for this than the one I'm seeing.

How amenity=library_dropoff differs from existing tags

amenity=library - as this is not a physical location where a collection resides and is made available to patrons. amenity=library should still be used for actual libraries. amenity=public_bookcase - Also popularly know as, Little Free Libraries, which are de-centralized communal libraries with small footprint and public not patron access


As I still don't have access to upload images yet I'll link to my Mapillary capture of one such location, I'm using RapiD instead iD editor because the recent Mapillary API updates have messed up Mapillary viewing in the iD editor recently but seem to be working in RapiD editor. There are multiple of these in every major city in my area.

See also


I have an idea for what I would like this to be rendered as basically a book icon with a arrow pointing down below it. I can create the as an SVG but I don't have upload capabilities as mentioned above.

Features/Pages affected

This would likely receive an update on the amenity=library page and maybe as an example on the collection_times=* page that is about all the other pages that might need a reference.

External discussions

I have had private conversation with local libraries when discussing the hosting of a 'map-athon' event once Covid restrictions are lifted a bit more. I initially thought this would be an easy thing to add an surely something OSM already supported but on searching I was not able to find this use case although I could find plenty of other use cases for things like Little Public Libraries which are similar in use case even though library drop-offs pre-date the Little Public Library movement to the best of my knowledge.


Please comment on the discussion page.


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The proposed tag is "amenity=library_dropoff" ... dropoff not pickup, so I don't see how that is counterintuitive, at all. --Push-f (talk) 17:25, 26 June 2022 (UTC)
First, this is good RFC feedback but not vote on the merits of this tag itself. Second, pickup is already implied to occur at amenity=library and a self service pickup option would be best handled by adding a self_service=* tag not a new amenity=library_pickup tag. JPinAR (talk) 14:11, 27 June 2022 (UTC)
Why should dropoff be under amenity=* but pickup under self_service=*? That does seem counterintuitive to me. --Push-f (talk) 14:16, 27 June 2022 (UTC)
Push-f For two reasons: First, it is nearly impossible to have a pickup without the physical collection of books present so amenity=library for pickup is almost certainly required. Second, OSM best practice says only add new tags where existing tags don't already work amenity=library + self_service=yes/only/partial as a combination exist which makes it harder to justify a distinct amenity=library_pickup; amenity=library_dropoff in contrast can be physical distinct from amenity=library and it's implied collection of books. --JPinAR (talk) 20:32, 27 June 2022 (UTC)
Ah yeah that makes sense. Mateusz was speaking about some places where you can pick up books while the library is closed. I guess such places could be physically distinct but then again I don't know any such places, perhaps you can elaborate Mateusz? --Push-f (talk) 19:49, 27 June 2022 (UTC)
Poland has some machines where you can collect ordered earlier book from library (allows 24h pickup or without direct contact). Googling for "bibliotekomat" or "książkomat" should find some images (Polish neologism from "biblioteka" (=library) or "książka" (=book) and "automat"). See about the first one or see this one. From quick look it appears far more rare than I expected and may be a local oddity, not something more widely present (so I changed from "no" to "abstain") Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:12, 28 June 2022 (UTC)
We have one like this to at our library but to my earlier point amenity=library + self_service=only could cover this use case without the need to add a new tag. Which makes much harder to justify a new tag for this vs amenity=library_dropoff --JPinAR (talk) 14:30, 28 June 2022 (UTC)
"amenity=library + self_service=only could cover this use case" - I am not convinced. Often it is part of library, not a separate one. And you need to order book first Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 23:45, 28 June 2022 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. --Push-f (talk) 19:56, 27 June 2022 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal I approve this proposal. It's good that you found a word and tag for this kind of place, because lately I've been wondering how to map something like this in my city. maro21 22:12, 28 June 2022 (UTC)