Definition of library noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlaɪbrəri//
    , BrE//ˈlaɪbri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlaɪbreri//
    (pl. libraries) Rooms in a house, In school, Public spaces
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  1. 1   a building in which collections of books, CDs, newspapers, etc. are kept for people to read, study or borrow a public/reference/university, etc. library a library book a toy library (= for borrowing toys from) CulturelibrariesAlmost every town in Britain and the US has a public library. Many older libraries were built with money given by Andrew Carnegie, a US businessman originally from Scotland.Public libraries are often open until late evening during the week, part of Saturday, and in the US even on Sunday. Librarians manage the libraries and advise people how to find the books or information they need.Public libraries contain fiction (= story books), non-fiction (= books containing facts), children's books, and usually magazines, CDs and DVDs, and have computers with access to the Internet. Every library has a catalogue which shows where books on a particular subject can be found. Many US university libraries use the Library of Congress system for arranging books in order on the shelves. In Britain and in public libraries in the US the Dewey decimal classification system is the most used.Libraries are often divided into a reference section and a lending section. Books from the reference section, e.g. dictionaries and directories, as well as newspapers and magazines, can only be used in the library. Books from the lending section can be borrowed free of charge for a period of two or three weeks by people who are members of the library. Anyone living in the local area can join a library and obtain a library card. If a book is returned late, after the due date, the borrower has to pay a fine. Books can be ordered over the Internet, and electronic books can also be downloaded. Public libraries are also a source of local information and a centre for community activities. Many have special programmes for children to help them feel comfortable using a library. In school holidays they organize storytelling and other entertainments.Travelling libraries (= libraries set up inside large vans) take books round country areas for people who cannot easily get to a town. In the US travelling libraries are called bookmobiles. Schools, colleges and universities have their own private libraries for the use of students and teachers.In both Britain and the US public libraries receive money from local and national government but, increasingly, they do not receive enough for their needs. In Britain some smaller libraries have had to close and many more are threatened with being closed. In the US people believe strongly that information and education should be freely available. Libraries are important in achieving this but, as in Britain, they do not get sufficient money and depend on the help of volunteers who work without pay.The biggest library in Britain is the British Library in London with over 150 million books, CDs, DVDs and tape recordings. Other important libraries include the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales, the Cambridge University Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford . These libraries are called copyright libraries or legal deposit libraries and are entitled to receive a free copy of every book that is published in Britain. The largest library in the US is the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. See related entries: In school, Public spaces
  2. 2 a room in a large house where most of the books are kept See related entries: Rooms in a house
  3. 3(formal) a personal collection of books, CDs, etc. a new edition to add to your library
  4. 4a series of books, recordings, etc. produced by the same company and similar in appearance a library of children’s classics
  5. Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French from Latin libraria ‘bookshop’, feminine (used as a noun) of librarius ‘relating to books’, from liber, libr- ‘book’.Extra examples A number of councils operate mobile libraries. Do you have any books to take back to the library? Do you know about the other services available at your local library? Everyone in the country should have access to a lending library. How often do you go to the library? I got this very interesting book out of the library. I’ve been reading newspapers in the library. In 1784 he established his first circulating library. It is a copyright library and receives three copies of all books published in Britain. She had built up an impressive library of art books. Students are taught library skills in the first week of their course. The family possessed an extensive library. The library has an extensive collection of books on Chinese history. The school has an excellent library. a holiday programme for children at the local library a personal library of over 1 000 volumes a plan to provide mobile library services in rural environments teaching library skills to schoolchildren the Herbert Hoover presidential library in West Branch, Iowa the need to improve library provision
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: library