By Kelly Alderfer
KU is currently disbanding its map collection in the library to make space for upcoming renovations in spring 2015.
According to Sylvia Pham, the map librarian, “The maps take up a large amount of floor space compared to books,” she said. “The metal map cases are also heavy… [and] really shouldn’t be moved to any part of the building that doesn’t have a reinforced floor.”
In addition to the space issue, the availability and ease of using internet applications such as Google Maps lessens the need for paper maps.
The maps will go many places, mostly where they originally came from. Many of them are federal depository maps which have been loaned from the Penn State Law Library. and Another handful will be given to the Geology department. Most local and state history maps will be archived by the university.
The rest of the maps are available to academic departments, professors and students, who can go to the library and check out the selection. Pham requests that students make an interested pile, and include a name and email address so she can contact them. “My student assistant or I then go through these maps to make sure they are out of the catalog… [and] not a map that belongs in archives or is a depository map,” she said.
There are many maps available, including raised topographical maps. In addition, there are maps of U.S. states, countries around the world, special interest maps and even decades-old brochures of national parks.
It has not yet been decided how the empty space will be used. This is an ongoing process that will be happening throughout this semester, and the entire area needs to be clear by the end of December 2014.
The decision to disband the map collection was made by the administration in spring 2014.