LD_LIBRARY_PATH is a environment variable that lists directory where executable can search for linux shared library. It's also called the shared library search path.

The value of the environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH is a colon-separated (:) set of directories where libraries are searched for first before the standard set of directories.

If you are running on a Solaris system, the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable is used to define the native library path.

Why was it invented?

There were a couple good reasons why it was invented:

  • This is useful when debugging a new library or using a non-standard library for special purposes, but be sure you trust those who can control those directories.
  • To test out new library routines against an already compiled binary (for either backward compatibility or for new feature testing).
  • To have a short term way out in case you wanted to move a set of shared libraries to another location.

Environment Variable

Operating System Library Path Environment Variable

Search in it

Script where the first parameter is the library searched.


for p in ${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}; do
    if [ -e ${p}/${1} ]; then
        echo ${p}


Documentation / Reference

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