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Accessing/Borrowing Materials

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Citing Cartographic Materials
Reproducing Map Library Materials

The Map Library’s book and journal collection, organized using the Library of Congress Classification System, is open for browsing. Library users are welcome to retrieve the titles they are interested in consulting. Books not desired for borrowing will be reshelved by Map Library staff.

Maps are stored flat in special map cabinets or in vertical file cabinets and require staff assistance to retrieve. Please do not attempt to remove maps from cabinets or re-file them. Map Library staff will assist in browsing the collection to identify the titles for deeper examination and will retrieve identified materials.

Viewing aerial photographs requires library users to consult indexes and complete an air photo request form listing the specific photographs wanted. Consulting indexes can be done in the Map Library or online through scanned aerial photograph indexes and a simple web-based form. Map Library staff will need 2 days to retrieve requested photographs. Once retrieved, they will be held underneath the Map Library’s circulation desk for in-library use.

Not all of the Map Library’s materials, in particular maps, appear in the library catalog. If you are interested in a specific topic and do not see what you want in the catalog, please ask our staff. We may have more material available for you to study than the catalog indicates.

Please note that the Map Library has moved a large portion of its non-United States topographic maps and geologic maps and a number of over-sized atlases to remote storage at the Oak Street Library Facility. Please consult with Map Library staff about requesting titles from Oak Street and allow an additional two days for delivery.

A UIUC or I-SHARE member ID is not required to use the materials within the library. A valid UIUC or I-SHARE member ID is required, however, to check out materials.

Borrowing Cartographic Materials (Maps, Atlases, Aerial Photographs)

Generally, maps printed after 1960 and that are neither mounted nor encapsulated may be checked out. When checking out a map, a staff member will provide a map tube in which to transport and store your items until they are returned. Maps may not be requested for delivery to another UIUC Library or to a UIUC campus address, and they do not circulate via interlibrary loan. They may only be checked out from the Map Library. Maps may be returned to any UIUC Library location but return directly to the Map Library is greatly desired.

Most books, including atlases, may be borrowed by visiting the Map Library or through the online catalog for delivery to another UIUC library or office or to I-SHARE libraries elsewhere in Illinois. Oversized atlases designated as quartos (call number begins Q.) can be borrowed but only by visiting the Map Library. Very large atlases designated as folios (call number begins F.) do not circulate at all.

Aerial photographs may be borrowed but only under very specific guidelines: the borrower must present a current UIUC ID, will be allowed to borrow no more than 50 photographs at one time, and is required to return all photographs prior to the Map Library’s close at 5:00p on the day of borrowing.

Borrowing Books and Journals

Many of the books and bound journal volumes in the Map Library can be borrowed. They will circulate for standard library system loan periods.

There are some specific groups of books which do not circulate, including: folio-sized books and atlases, books and atlases that are comprised of loose sheets (fascicles) in a box, folder, or portfolio, gazetteers, books and atlases in the reference collection, books and atlases shelved in the office because of age or physical condition.


Patrons may work with library billing staff to resolve any discrepancies regarding fines (i.e. item returned, but unaccounted for). When there is an unsatisfactory resolution patrons may contact Cherie Weible, Head of Central Access Services, and Mary Laskowski, Director of Library Fulfillment, for further consideration of a reduction or elimination of charges.