Definition of library in English:


Syllabification: li·brar·y
Pronunciation: /ˈlīˌbrerē, -brərē

noun (plural libraries)

  • 1A building or room containing collections of books, periodicals, and sometimes films and recorded music for people to read, borrow, or refer to: a school library [as modifier]: a library book
    More example sentences
    • I researched sailboat building at our town library and Boston Public Library.
    • So a university gets a new library building but no funds for new books.
    • It's easier to borrow the book from a public library or buy it from a second-hand bookshop.
  • 1.1A collection of books and periodicals held in a library: the Institute houses an outstanding library of 35,000 volumes on the fine arts
    More example sentences
    • The museum houses a library with about 60,000 books related to Gandhi and the various causes he espoused.
    • A few Italian book collectors began to amass libraries of unprecedented proportions: one cardinal is said to have had as many as 15,000 books.
    • They visited the stables, admiring the horses, and settled in to read from the extensive library Geoff had collected.
  • 1.2A collection of films, recorded music, genetic material, etc., organized systematically and kept for research or borrowing: a record library
    More example sentences
    • This includes photo libraries, research databases and detailed archives.
    • The archive functions as a dance library and research center, much like the New York City Public Library's Dance Collection.
    • Start your library by researching other denominational hymnals.
  • 1.3A series of books, recordings, etc., issued by the same company and similar in appearance.
    More example sentences
    • A Dutch publisher plans to release the complete series in a library of 12 hardcovers.
  • 1.4A room in a private house where books are kept.
    More example sentences
    • The bedrooms are linked to the bathrooms, dressing rooms, libraries and anterooms.
    • Along the cool corridors are private dining rooms, libraries, a gymnasium, and Turkish baths.
    • Dominic's room was more like a hotel luxury suite complete with a living room and a private library.
  • 1.5 (also software library) Computing A collection of programs and software packages made generally available, often loaded and stored on disk for immediate use.
    More example sentences
    • He reckons it will take 18 months to get the 4,000 programs in the software library built, and has taken the CD off the market.
    • That said, backward-compatibility is a relatively new feature for consoles - for a long time, buying a next-generation machine meant leaving your software library behind.
    • Update the software library to get rid of old software versions, beta versions and out of date service packs.


late Middle English: via Old French from Latin libraria 'bookshop', feminine (used as a noun) of librarius 'relating to books', from liber, libr- 'book'.

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