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Government Publications

A basic guide in identifying and locating government information.

Map Library Orientation

The Map Library is located on the first floor of McWherter Library on the west side of the Government Publications Department.

Most collections in the Map Library are housed in cases. Each case contains 15 drawers. A group of adjacent cases is called an island.

Map library locations are designated according to island, case, and drawer. For example, a map in Island 3, Case 8, Drawer 4, would be in location 3.8.4.

the McWherter map library

Guides/Legends for the Map Library

There are guides/legends located on top of the first case at the Map Library entrance to assist users in finding the correct location for a map.

  • Map Library Catalog (gray three-ring binder)
    Provides an alphabetical listing of the state, continent, country, and world maps, and their island/case/drawer location.

  • 7.5 Minute Topographic Map Indexes 
    Available for each state. Shelved on the west wall. 

Some maps are shelved in the general collection instead of within the Map Library Collection. Some Oversized Maps are located in the Oversized Collection (Located in Range 51). Be sure to check the map location in the Catalog.

Navigating Through the Map Library

What's in the Islands?

There are 5 total islands in the Map Library. Moving from south to north (i.e., from the entrance of the map library to the windows), the islands contain:

  • Memphis and Shelby County Maps (1.1.1-3)
  • CIA Oversize Maps (PREX 3.10/4:) (1.1.5-8)
    Arranged alphabetically by countries. Non-oversize CIA maps are located in the filing cabinets along the west wall.
  • United States Maps (1.2)
  • Tennessee Maps and Posters (1.3-4)
  • State Maps (1.6 - 3.3)
    Arranged alphabetically by state name.
  • 7.5 Minute Topographic Maps (1.6 - 3.3)
    The catalog has a main record for topographic maps for each state. Each quadrangle is not cataloged separately. Within each drawer, Topographic Maps are arranged by state, then alphabetically by quadrangle name.
  • World Maps (3.5)
  • Continent and Country Maps (3.6 - 4.6)
    Arranged by continent. Within each continent section, arranged alphabetically by country name.
  • Posters (4.7-8)
    Arranged by Federal Agency in SuDoc classification.


What's on the West Wall?

Materials not housed in the islands can be found along the west wall of the Map Library.

On the shelves:

In the filing cabinets:

  • Government Maps (Pamphlets) 
    Arranged by SuDoc classification. Non-map pamphlets can be found in the microform area.
  • Tennessee Geologic Agency Maps
    In the catalog, these maps are listed as part of the TN Collection but are located in the Map Library in the filing cabinets on the west wall.
  • CIA Maps (PREX 3.10/4:)
    Arranged alphabetically by countries. Oversize CIA maps are located in Island 1 Case 1

Where Do I Check out Maps?

All maps may be checked out at the Research Assistance Desk in the Learning Commons area.

Country Name Changes

Some country names and territories have changed since map publication. Be sure to check the catalog for location.

Here are some resources on name and territory changes: