The library, I’m sure you know, is a great place to borrow a book. Did you know you can also borrow a map?
A fresh array of maps have recently arrived at Central Library, all available for check out. This lovely shelf of circulating maps (pictured at right) is in the Literature & History room on Central’s third floor -- the same room that houses travel books, hiking guides, atlases, and other geography-related gems.
What’s in the map collection?
Most of the library’s check-out-able maps are of places in Portland, Multnomah County and Oregon, or of places in Washington and California. And there are lots of different kinds. For example, you can find:
wilderness, park and forest maps
street maps of cities and towns
maps showing lighthouses
regional maps showing areas like the California coast or the Olympic Peninsula
and many other kinds of maps!
If you can’t or don’t want to come to Central Library to get your map fix, you can use the library catalog to place holds on the maps you want -- and then you can pick them up at your neighborhood library.
Finding maps in the library catalog
When you’re looking for a map of a particular place, start with a search for the name of the place -- let’s use Los Angeles as an example. This search gives you lots of library materials about LA; to get to the maps, go to the Format section on the left side of the screen, click Other, and then click the checkbox next to Maps.
Now you have a much shorter list showing only maps and books containing lots of maps. To find maps you can check out, go back to the Format section on the left, click on Titles I can…, and then click the checkbox next to Borrow and take home. Now you should see a nice tidy list of maps (of Los Angeles, in this case) that you can borrow with your library card.
If you’d like to see a list of the library’s newest maps, go to the Advanced search screen, look for the Format section down at the bottom, and click the checkbox next to Maps. Now click on the orange Search button. This gets you a super-duper crazy long list of all the maps and map-filled things in the library’s collection.
You can see newest maps by going to the Sort by dropdown at the top of the screen, and choosing the Date acquired option. Now you’ll see the list re-arranged with the newest maps at the top. Again, if you'd like to limit your search to maps you can check out immediately, click the checkbox next to Borrow and take home, over in the Titles I can... section on the left side of the screen.
If you know the name of the map you need, you can search for it by title just as you would a book or other item. Here’s an example: one of my favorite maps shows lighthouses in Oregon, Washington and Alaska -- it’s called Northwest Lighthouses. A search for these words gets a list of results with the map right on top.
Remember, knowledgeable and friendly librarians are always standing by to help you with your map and research needs! Ask us your map-related questions (or really, any questions) by email or phone, or talk to the librarian on duty the next time you’re at the library in person.