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According to the dictionary, "opposite" means in a position facing someone or something but on the other side. Therefore, I can only say the reference books are opposite the service area. I cannot say the lecture room or the cafe is opposite the service area because they are the same side of the library. Is this correct?

Or, does it depend on where you are at the library? If you are standing in the service area facing the lecture room, you can still say the lecture room is opposite the service area? If you are in the middle of the passage, then you can't say the lecture room is opposite the service area?

Opposite the service area are reference books.

Opposite the service area is a lecture room/cafe.

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    I'd say the lecture room is opposite the cafe even if on the same side of the building. They face each other. But I'd say the lecture room is next to the service area because they are side by side. Commented Feb 23 at 15:26
  • Exactly. You don't need to say that two things are 'opposite' to one another when they are in fact next to one another. Commented Feb 23 at 15:37
  • opposite just means across from, But there your sentences do not sound good for that diagram.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 23 at 15:47
  • I don't see "service area" on the map. I can guess that you mean the information desk, and possibly include the "self-service machines"? Commented Feb 23 at 18:58
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    It wouldn't be immediately clear in this context. "Service area" might be a reasonable description, but it's not a common phrase in libraries. (Other places might have similar phrases; like, a car dealership has a "service department" for fixing the cars.) Commented Feb 24 at 21:26

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"Opposite" can carry a connotation of "facing". If the service machines are on one wall (facing "north" in this diagram), I would interpret the opposite location to refer to whatever is on the wall facing them - either the adult fiction books or the lecture room. In this case, I'd say the adult fiction books are opposite the service machines, and the reference books are on the opposite side of the library as the service machines.

It gets a little more complicated if the service machines are in the middle of the room or don't all face in the same direction. In such a case there will be a less well-defined "opposite" since there's not much of an implied reference direction - it could be more dependent on where you're standing and what you can see if you don't have a blueprint or map.

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