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This article is about the current version of DF.
A medieval library.

Libraries are locations. At a library, scholars can write books (scrolls, codices, and quires) and scribes can create copies. Any dwarves in your fortress will go to libraries to read books or idle around, giving them happy thoughts.

If the library permits visitors, scholars from civilizations around the world will come to your library, often bringing books of their own. These scholars will engage in various topics with your scholars and each other, and will sometimes write their own books while visiting (using your supplies of writing materials in the process). These books effectively become property of your fortress, as the author usually doesn't take their books away upon leaving. On rare occasions, they will petition to become a permanent part of your fortress for the purpose of studying.

Setting up a library[edit]

  • Hit i to designate the zone for your library. Set it to a meeting area with m, hit l to designate it as a location. See the locations page for more details.
  • Build bookcases to store written books, and containers to store writing material (blank quires and scrolls). (not paper sheets, they must be made into blank scrolls/books before writing).
  • Build tables and chairs.
  • Designate scholars and scribes as desired (via the l Locations menu).

Preventing Book Theft[edit]

Visitors can take books with them when they leave the fortress. One way to prevent this is to designate two libraries.

The first library is for reading and copying. Assign your scribes to work here. Restrict it to citizens only, to prevent visitors from reading, and then stealing, the books stored there. Give this library the full range of library furniture: containers, chairs, tables, and bookcases.

The second library is for research and writing. Assign your scholars to work here. Allow all visitors to use this library, so that visiting scholars will congregate here and write new books. Don't make this library too big, or the scholars won't be close enough to start their discussions.

The second library should have no bookcases. This prevents books in your first library from coming within reach of visitors who might steal them, but it doesn't prevent the theft of books written within the second library. To prevent those thefts, the second library should not contain any tables. To write a book, a scholar needs a chair in a library with a table next to the chair, but there's no check on whether the table is inside the library. So, put a table next to each chair, and then cut those tables out of the library location. This means that each new book written in your fortress will come into existence on a table outside a library, so your dwarves will eventually pick it up and move it to a bookshelf in the citizens-only library.

Urist's Lever[edit]

It was discovered that by putting an unlinked lever in the back of a library, assigning only the scholars and scribes to use it, then assigning them to pull the lever, with high priority on repeat... due to the vagaries of dwarven psychology, they will find themselves unable to resist reading, writing, or pondering something. This is a good way to increase the productivity of your fortresses' best and brightest.

Library Management[edit]

In vanilla DF, it's rather difficult to get information about the books you own: who wrote them, how many copies you own, what topics they cover, etc. Fortunately, there's a DFHack script that makes all that very clear.

Adventure mode[edit]

The study area of a human library
An upper floor of a human library, dedicated to storing books

In the rest of the world, libraries are generated structures that can be found in human towns and dwarven fortresses. Like the libraries in fortress mode, they will be frequented by scholars who spend their days discussing scholarly topics. The number of books and scholars in a given generated library depends on the history of the site. A library found in a town with a poor history may be almost empty of books and scholars alike.

The ground floor in a generated library is typically used as a study area, and furnished with chairs, tables and a container with usable writing materials. A ramp-staircase connects the ground floor to higher floors as well as a basement. Basements and higher floors are typically used to store the books, and contain several bookcases. Libraries found in fortresses only have two floors, while those found in towns can span many stories high.

Libraries have an effect in world gen based on the original and copied books that are there. Every year, each library gets five turns to pick a book. If the book has a poetic/music/dance form, it has a chance to make that form well-known in the entire parent civ, as a form of cultural diffusion. If the book promotes a value at a certain level, it makes a roll against the author's skill roll when they wrote the book. The local site civ can have their values shifted by 1-2 points (it takes 10 or more to change the visible text for the value), and the parent civ can also be shifted a point, and all sites under the parent civ have a chance to be shifted a point as well.

"Library" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: koshosh
Elvish: dethara
Goblin: ruspdo
Human: adith