Spring 2014 Hours:
Closed on weekends
Aerial Photographs – The Map Library maintains a comprehensive collection of aerial photographs for all Illinois counties, ranging in date from the late 1930s to 2005. Finding photos taken from the late 1930s to the early 1980s for an area in Illinois requires consulting photo-mosaic indices for the relevant county and years. The process of finding aerial photos for a pre-determined area is somewhat easier after 1988 because a single index can be used for all years. Aerial photograph users are responsible for using indices to identify the photographs that they need to examine and completing a photograph request form.
Maps – Yes, we have maps! We hold maps from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Among other categories, we hold domestic and international topographic maps, Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, and plat maps. We can even tell you how to cite them in a bibliography! Maps are housed in map cabinets and vertical files. Please ask a library staff member for assistance in locating and retrieving maps. Please note that not all of our maps appear in the online catalog. If you aren't finding enough information, please speak to a library staff member. We may be able to help you find more resources that haven't been cataloged yet.
Monographs – Our collection of print books may be freely accessed by patrons. Books are organized according to the Dewey Decimal System and appear in the University of Illinois online catalog. Our collection includes gazetteers; atlases; journals; U.S. county plat books; and works on cartography, the history of cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing. Gazetteers and print journals are shelved separately from the other books. Gazetteers, reference works, and folios (oversized books marked with an F) do not circulate. Many atlases are housed at the Oak Street Library Facility. This building is not open to the public, but items shevled there can be requested via the online catalog and delivered to the Map Library for access. Please allow at least two extra days for delivery.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps - Sanborn maps were made to assist insurance underwriters in determining fire insurance rates for individual buildings by examining the buildings' construction methods, heat and lighting sources, manufacturing uses, and the same attributes of nearby buildings. The maps primarily provide information on the downtown areas of cities and adjoining residential areas. They are especially useful in providing a record of urban development from the 1880s through the first half of the twentieth century. Family historians other genealogical researchers may also find them useful for verifying addresses of homes and family businesses.
Topographic Maps - The Map Library offers comprehensive topographic coverage of all states by the United States Geology Survey. U.S. coverage includes the following scales: 1:24,000; 1:62,500; 1:100,000; 1:250,000. (1:24,000 scale is the most detailed; 1:250,000 is the least detailed.) There are individual state indices for the 24,000 and 62,500 series. These maps provide information on topography, transportation, relief (differences in elevation), drainage systems, and other physical and cultural features.The Library also has a comprehensive topographic coverage of other regions and nations of the world. Generally, coverage available for immediate consulation in the Map Library will be at the scale of 1:250,000. More detailed topographic maps are housed at and can be requested from the Oak Street Library Facility.
U.S. County Plat Maps - Plat books are atlases that show land ownership for rural areas and generally feature one township per page with a focus on rural property ownership. The Map Library houses the most recent edition acquired for Illinois counties. Older editions are shelved in Main Stacks. Nineteenth-century plat books, often called "county histories," are available at the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections Library.
Remember to properly cite our resources if you reference them in your writing!
Please also note that much of our collection, including non-US topographic maps, is now stored at the Oak Street Library Facility. Users can request maps via the online catalog, and they will be delivered to the Map Library for use. Please allow at least two extra days for delivery. Maps requested from the Oak Street facility do not circulate. They are for in-room use only in the Map Library.
In addition to our print and database items, we also offer a list of additional web resources that users may find helpful. These resources are not produced or maintained by the Map Library, and we are not responsible for their content.