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Discuss Tag:amenity=library here:

Mapping British libraries

Just came across this. A group comprising librarians and authors are mapping the libraries across Britain that are under threat of, or have already succumbed to, closure or reduction in staff and services: We should look at an OSM tie-in somehow -- Harry Wood 13:00, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately that link no longer exists. Redirects to but no mention of maps. It was some time ago though. -- Andrewblack 20:00, 05 August 2017 (UTC)

Types of libraries

I suggest the type of library be tagged library=. The types should roughly correspond to Examples: library=public, library=law, library=research. Brianegge (talk) 00:41, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree on proposing this key to specify the type of library, but I think it should be used to indicate what type of media predominates in the collection, such as library=books, library=records, library=music (for sheet music), library=films, etc. The examples you provided varied between content (which I propose), function and administration. Or, thinking again, maybe the key for what I propose could be collection=*? — Virgilinojuca (talk) 17:00, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Brianegge's idea. I do not understand the response by Virgilinojuca -- I read it like "I agree, but actually I want to use the library:type key for something completely different". I would say one of the most important use case emerging from library:type is to answer the question -- "is this a general purpose public library, or is this a special purpose library (e.g. scientific) ?" --Peter.vojtek (talk) 08:19, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
What I meant is that Brianegge's examples don't seem to be similar enough. For me, library=law suggest that it is a library composed, at least mostly, by books about law. library=public suggests that it is public rather than private. So those two characteristics don't seem that they should be in the same field. (library=research I don't actually understand, since, for me, any library can be used for research) Putting it in another way, how would I tag, according to his idea, a library composed of law books that is public? And, regarding that library:type=* key... I never mentioned such key. —Virgilinojuca (talk) 04:42, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes there needs to be a key for library=public or private, etc. - then again we have an access=* key which would probably cover this. For the other issue raised, maybe a library_specialty=* key for Law or Medical libraries etc.—Rassilon (talk) 02:09, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
I would both agree and disagree with the description on library=public in the discussion here. Indeed as you pointed out, there's access=* for a "public library". However, a "public library" or "private library" could have many implications: ownership (ownership=*), operator (operator:type=*), original collector of the books, the subject, or the level of collection (national, municipal, etc). We could learn much from the currently untidy tourism=museum taggings and avoid the same mistakes. Kovposch (talk) 16:45, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
hello, I am happy to see this idea has been released. On my side, I am more thinking about some general keys (like book=yes, film=yes or game=yes ), so these keys could be reused for other combinations : for example, a bar where you can play games, or a coffee shop providing some books for customers. —Hellopierre (talk) 12:34, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
This sounds like what the "approved" amenity=toy_library was doing. While it is indeed very common, it feels not general enough to cover the other items you mentioned (ie games). (That being said, movies and audio material are considered traditional library items as well) Kovposch (talk) 16:07, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree but isn't it limited to books and games? If so, shouldn't be it addressed in a more general way without linking it to the library tag? Imagoiq (talk) 14:15, 21 February 2021 (UTC)

The word 'type' conveys no information and will lead to different uses of the tag. Far better to say what is intended to be tagged! Some thoughts. library:media=book/map/film/audio/* library:loan=yes/no (Some libraries do not loan out to normal visitors.) library:use= research/history/law/science/aviation/medical/british/american/family_history* Public/private could be an access key access=*. I also like Hellopierre's idea. Warin61 (talk) 01:07, 21 April 2020 (UTC)

I'm working on a proposal to add so-called "Library of Things" and I think we should have a flexible way to specify items contained in a library. I mean that the world of library seems to change and will probably extend in the future e.g. multimedia library has been a trendy word for some times but as you mention Kovposch, a lot of library didn't change their name but lend multimedia materials nowadays. In the future, the border between different kinds of libraries (traditional, toys, mobile, things, tools, seeds…) could be even more blurred. Some thoughts: use library:collections=* instead of library:media=* to have a broader meaning e.g. library:collections=books;braille_books;e-books;audiobooks;newspapers;periodicals;manuscripts;prints;maps;artworks;audio_recordings;video_recordings;sheet_music;table_games;video_games;toys;seeds;tools;things. Having a value "books" might seem pointless, but the concept of "Bookless library" exist. Probably that library:material=microform;cd_rom;cassettes;videotapes;dvd_rom;blu_ray_discs;e-books;rom_cartridge doesn't make sense or will be too complicated to manage. Also, some library offer new services and facilities like workshop, makerspace, photo studio, sound studio (e.g Oodi in Helsinki), what would be a good tag to define them? As for the type of library, I agree that public/private could be defined with access=* and ownership=* and that special library could be tagged like library=general/company/academic/school/prison/museum/military and library:specialty=arts;comics;economy;history;language;law;manga;medical;music;news;nutrition;science;social_science;sport;theology;transportation. Maybe that we should go further and consider rare values like e.g. special library: pharmaceutical library, crime novel… .Warin61, I don't get what does library:use=british/american/family_history designated. Can you provide examples? Imagoiq (talk) 14:15, 21 February 2021 (UTC)

The library:collections=* could be used for the subject/s that the library holds e.g. information on architecture, economics, history, geography etc etc. It could also be used for the media it contains e.g. books, DVDs, mirofilm, photos etc. The word collections is too broad, why is there a need to combine both the information subject and media in the one tag? library:use=* would be to indicate the subject the library contains e.g. information on architecture, economics, history, geography etc etc. An example : Warin61 (talk) 08:37, 22 February 2021 (UTC)
Yes I agree, actually I think it will be difficult to find the right word. I don't think that there is a need to combine both, I meant that I'm wondering if it's make sense to list all the different kind of format like DVD, CD, etc. I did a small survey (still WIP and that anyone can edit) with the List of largest libraries to have a better picture of how certain terms are used. This survey compares how (advanced) search are using terms and which one. Maybe instead of media and collections, material will be more appropriate (or maybe resource?). For me, media is not broad enough as the term cannot encompass "Seeds", "Tools" and "Things". At the moment, I'm mainly driven by those topics, and I'm wondering if it's going too far to add every kind of resources as the list can be colossal. For example, does this make sense to know that a library possess "maps"? And if we are going this way other tags would be needed to say if this kind of resources can be lent or not. At the same time, It would be helpful to know that a library have such type of resources like "Seeds", "Tools" or even for example "Braille books". Apparently, this classification issue seems to touch also library. The Sacramento Public Library and the Berkeley Public Library are both lending tools, but they are listed in a separate catalogues. On your idea of library:use=, would be more relevant to use "Topics", "Subjects", "Sections" or even "Shelves"? Imagoiq (talk) 18:02, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
Choosing words is very hard, particularly when they get used across cultures and languages! For 'use', 'topic' or 'subject' make sense... 'sections' and 'shelves' not so much. At least 2 of the libraries I am a member of do not loan out items, both of them have maps, along with books, works of art, newspapers, microfilm and probably other things. Sorry I don't have a word to encompass 'seeds'. At least not yet. Perhapse 'item'??? Warin61 (talk) 10:14, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
I've started a discussion in the Tagging Mailing list([1]) on the library of things which may have an impact on how to define library type. FYI Someone in 2018 proposed to use repository to define type: [2] Imagoiq (talk) 17:06, 22 March 2021 (UTC)


How should facilities, such as study desks, audio books, librarians service be recorded?

Drop boxes

Can't find any info on library book-return drop boxes - free-standing/walk-up or building-mounted/drive-up ones (Broomfield, Colorado Mapillary example). DougGrinbergs (talk) 04:46, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

For an individual object (most likely node here): Maybe you can "abuse" amenity=vending_machine like vending=parcel_mail_in, although there's almost certainly no money involved. If you interpret "library" as library service including a book return only facility, tags would need to be conceived to show it has no books for reading or lending, or a new tag as in amenity=mobile_library and amenity=public_bookcase. Another misleading option would be considering it as a amenity=post_box of books for the library. That's what I can think of in existing tags. There's 5 vending=book_return, and other tags at a dozen of uses. Kovposch (talk) 16:00, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
To indicate the library has such a box: Perhaps we should also specify a borrowing/returning key to a library in general for the purpose of borrowing/returning time, items allowed, etc. So that, among others, borrowing/returning can be directed to the box outside the library's opening hours. Kovposch (talk) 22:54, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
There's two options, it seems:
- it's a sort of "vending machine": amenity=vending_machine + vending=book_return. That's a little weird, but then again so is vending=parcel_mail_in.
- it's a brand new amenity, amenity=book_return . This one is a little more popular for the time being
Joost schouppe (talk) 16:06, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

Multiple buildings and branches

A user asked on the main page about libraries with multiple buildings, or a building that contains multiple libraries: "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 can be mapped as separate feature. But if all of the buildings in one general area are considered one library with a single name, they may be mapped as an area with a multipolygon relation. Separate branches in different towns should be mapped as separate features, but given the same ISIL tag.
  • A building can host multiple libraries. In this case, each library can be mapped as a separate node within the building, or optionally each library can be mapped as a separate area, if each library is limited to part of the building. --Jeisenbe (talk) 05:31, 16 June 2019 (UTC)