Is Library Capitalized?

Title capitalization in English can be challenging since different words have different rules for capitalization. “Library is one of those words that can be quite confusing.

Is the Word ‘Library’ Capitalized?

This confusion is mainly due to the fact that the answer to this question is a nuanced one. Namely, you can distinguish two scenarios and those scenarios are very different from each other when it comes to capitalizing the word ‘library’.

In the first scenario, the word ‘library’ is used as a proper noun and proper nouns are always capitalized in English. If this is the case, we’re talking about a library in the form of a very specific building, such as the British Library, which you can find in London. Because this is such a specific library that even has a name to indicate which building we’re talking about, the word ‘Library’ is a proper noun in this context.┬áTo make this less abstract in an example sentence: “I’ve always wanted to visit the Library of Congress in Washington, seeing as it’s supposed to be very big and stunning!”

The second scenario is when the word ‘library’ is used generically in which case it is lowercase. When you use the word ‘library’ in the second scenario, the grammar rules that apply are entirely different. More concretely, when we’re using the word ‘library’ in this scenario, we’re not talking about a very specific building or such, but you’re just talking about the library as a general public facility. When this is the case, the word ‘library’ doesn’t function as a proper noun, but instead, it functions as a regular common noun. As a result, you won’t need to capitalize the letter ‘l’ in the word ‘library’, unless you’re starting your sentence with this word. Namely, there’s a general rule in the English language that you never should capitalize the first letter of common nouns, unless you’re starting your sentence with the common noun!

To give you an example sentence: “I’m thinking about going to the library because I’m in the mood to do some reading.”

Thus, if you’re not sure whether you need to capitalize the word ‘library’ or not, you just need to ask yourself the question whether you’re talking about specific libraries or whether you’re just talking about libraries in the general sense of the word! If you’re talking about specific libraries, you will need to use capitalization and if you’re talking about libraries as a public facility, you won’t need to use capitalization!


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