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catkin does intentionally not support that use case (see design sketch Simply because it is considered pretty bad practice.

Instead you should create a simple package containing these libraries and make them easily buildable with the existing infrastructure (see

If you want to keep using that kind of work flow you could just stick to rosbuild for these packages. While you can't release dry packages into Hydro (and future distros) you can always build them from source. (But that way you can't use them from catkin packages.)