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Maps & Atlases: Home

A guide to the physical and electronic map resources available in Murphy Library


Murphy Library has a wide variety of maps and atlases available. They are located in either the Reference area (see picture below), or the maproom in the library's basement.  Whether you are mapping the spread of a religion (for example, Judaism), wish to find specific topographical features (check out the maps available in our map room (or click on the Map Room tab in this guide), or are just trying to plan a road trip (a road atlas might be of use), there are many resources to help you out.  Atlases upstairs in the over-sized collection may be checked out like regular books.  The map room page on this guide has much more  information on that specific room downstairs in the basement.

Pictured below are very large flat atlases located behind Reference book section on main floor.  The titles would look like this in the card catalog: UW La Crosse Murphy Library Reference Atlas.


Materials in Temporary Storage

Due to the flooding event of August 2021, the basement of Murphy Library is currently closed.

Government Documents collections housed in the basement, including Federal government documents, Wisconsin government documents, and the Map Room Map Collection, are safe but currently in storage and not available for use. 

We currently estimate that the government documents collections will become available again around January 2025, once materials have been returned to the shelves and the basement is reopened.

The library's first and second floor remain open, and government documents held on microform remain available.

The library remains open to the public for access to online government information, and librarians remain available to assist with accessing and using government information sources.

Further details at

Maps and location of map room in basement

A map is a representation of an area that shows physical features such as roads, hills, rooms, etc. They are more useful than atlases if only a quick overview is desired, or single feature or place is being examined. For example, here's Murphy Library. Note the location of the map room in the basement, room 17.

Special Collections

Special Collections collects, preserves, and provides access to materials that due to their physical or intellectual properties require special handling and care. Types of records housed in this section of the library include rare books, regional and Wisconsin history books, fine-press publications, maps, oral history recordings and transcripts, university archives, and a large historic photograph collection.

Research Assistance

Reference Desk

Librarians can help you learn to make the most of the information resources, tools, and services of Murphy Library and beyond!

Weekdays & Sunday afternoons (fall/spring):

  • Visit us at the reference desk (1st floor)
  • Call us at 608.785.8508
  • Web Chat with us

Any time (year-round):

Local history and/or archives research? Special Collections / Area Research Center specialists are available!

Map Citing