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Public-images-osm logo.svg amenity = library
Guantanamo captives' library a.jpg
A place to read and/or lend books Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
Group: Amenities
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: de facto

According to Wikipedia, “a library is a collection of sources, resources, and services, and the structure in which it is housed. It is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, or a private individual.”.[1] For OpenStreetmap only physical libraries as library buildings and/or as organizations are relevant.

How to map

Set a node or draw as an area along the library outline. Tag it with amenity=library and name=*.

Tags to use in combination

  • ref:isil=* - reference the International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organisations (ISIL) to uniquely identify libraries
  • Addresses

Types of libraries

There are many different classification schemas to group libraries by types. Which system to use in OSM is still to be discussed.

  • mark a library as open or closed to the public?
  • mark a library as academic? (proposal : library:type=academic)
  • link the library to the institution it belongs to (for instance a university?)

A special case are library busses, see ref:isil=* for a description.


Multiple buildings and branches

  • Libraries can consist of multiple buildings and may have several branches. In this case the same ISIL is used for all buildings and branches.
  • If different names are commonly used for each location, then each building or branch should be mapped as separate feature. Branch libraries in different neighborhoods or towns should be mapped as separate features.
  • If several buildings in one general area are considered one library with a single name, they may be mapped as an area with a closed way or a multipolygon relation.
  • A building can host multiple libraries. In this case, each library can be mapped as a separate node within the building outline, or optionally each library can be mapped as a separate area, if each library is limited to part of the building.

Similar tags


  1. Article Library in Wikipedia at 8 December 2009.