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Public-images-osm logo.svg amenity = public_bookcase
Hannover, public bookcase.jpg
A street furniture containing books. Take one, leave one. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Public bookcase-14.svg
Group: amenities
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: approvedPage for proposal

A  public bookcase (sometimes known as a book exchange) is a type of street furniture containing books. Anyone can take a book from it, or leave one of their own. Contrary to a formal library, there is no rental registry, no membership, no fees and no obligation to return the books borrowed. Books made available on a public bookcase are considered a public commodity to be shared among the local community.

Public bookcases come in many shapes:

  • standing on their own: a bookcase or a small hut;
  • built reusing a public amenity such as an old telephone booth or the back of a bus stop;
  • placed on the wall of a public place: shelves in the hall of a community center or on the external wall of a library.

They are also known under the name of Little Free Library, a project which helped popularize the movement of public bookcases. (A very special case of LFL is the Peace Pole Library - peace message in 6' tall LFL; a few have been installed at historic civil rights movement locations in the U.S. South. No apparent official tag for  peace poles, of which there are 200,000 worldwide.)

How to map

Applies to nodes or areas.

Tag Description
amenity=public_bookcase The tag used to describe a street furniture containing books.
name=* Optional. Name of the public bookcase, for example hand written text on the furniture (e.g. "Thomas' Little Library").
public_bookcase:type=* Optional. Distinction based designs.
capacity=number Optional. Number of books the bookcase can contain.
opening_hours=* Optional. Can be an important information.
location=* Optional. Use location=indoor if the bookcase is inside a building.
access=* Optional. Use access=customers if the facility is only accessible for customers of, for example, a swimming pool.
description=* Optional. Add details on how to find easily the bookcase (e.g. "Bookcase is inside the pub next to the door").
wheelchair=* Optional. Please add this attribute because a lot of public bookcase do not have wheelchair access.
lit=* Optional. Add this tag if the public bookcase is lit.
brand=* Optional. Name of the brand or network of the bookcase if there is one visible (e.g. BookCrossing, Croque-livres, Little Free Library.).
operator=* Optional. Name of the operator, for example a restaurant that provides the bookcase within its walls.
website=*, contact:website=* Optional. Website of the public bookcase, if one exists.
books=* Optional, to indicate what kind of books can be found in the bookcase, e.g. books=children for children books, ...

Checkout contact=* for more contact tags.



  • Open Bookcase Map A MapComplete-based bookcase map and editor, based on OSM.
  • Public bookcases map A map with public bookcases. The map is based on OSM data.
  • Open bookcase map Map with bookcases. This website use its own database to store bookcases. In some areas, there are no bookcases, but places like train station, airport and hostel are marked as bookcases.
  • Little Free Library map Map with bookcases. This website use its own database to store bookcases. Doesn't even use OSM, uses Google Maps.

External dataset

Warning ! Do not import these datasets to OSM !

See also

Common/Possible tagging mistakes

If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag.
Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!