Did you know that Central Library has an amazing (and huge) maps collection? We have an entire room here dedicated to maps, including really old and historic maps to maps created by the CIA, and more. We also have an awesome collection of fiction books that contain maps. So we’ve decided we’re going to show off some of them! On June 11th, our Fantasy Maps: Imagined Worlds exhibit opens! Come see the spectacular map of St. Louis in the Great Hall, which shows you our city in a way you may have never seen it before. There’s also a part of the exhibit which focuses on maps in fiction books, up on the third floor, in the Carnegie Room.
Maps in books, drawn out of the author’s mind and illustrated, not only orient us to the world as the author sees it, but inform our perspective of the world within the story. Maps of fictional places allow us to visualize worlds in new ways, and provide a guide to envision where characters may venture, as well as the obstacles they may face. Maps can also provide insight into how geography can impact a society, as well as strategic maneuvers between societies. The art and nuance found in maps can in themselves give clues about the story, as well. Stories can even begin from a map, a vision of a place conjured from the imagination, and then developing into characters and a narrative as an author constructs their literary cartography.
Maps also remind us how beautiful and diverse our own world is, and of all the things we have seen, or which remain to be seen. A place may be mapped in more than one way, which opens our eyes to seeing a location we may think we know by heart, but then realize we have much to discover. Contemplating these maps can also inspire us to imagine and create worlds of our own.
This exhibit in the Carnegie Room shows examples of books in all kinds of stories, from classic children’s literature to epic fantasy books. You’ll learn about worlds imagined and created, as well as familiar worlds re-imagined. As seen from our amazing map of St. Louis in the Great Hall, there’s more than one way to visualize a familiar place, so you be surprised by some of what you’ll discover. In addition to the maps found in fantasy books, this exhibit provides a look at some of the fascinating and diverse maps of St. Louis from the Library’s Special Collections.
We encourage you to wander through this exhibit and discover (or re-discover) some fantastic worlds and stories. This is also the perfect time to immerse yourself in another world; we have an outstanding collection of diverse fiction to draw you into a myriad of imaginative, fantastical worlds.