MAP: Reading Arizona

Reading Arizona

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood in 2012, the Pima County Library and the Arizona State Library collaborated to create this map of 100 literary works set in Arizona: http://map.readingarizona.org/map/.

The map is an interactive digital map, but instead of a standard base layer there is an artist’s attractive rendering of the state marked with recognizable landmarks and geographic features, including Arizona’s stately sahuaro cacti, the Grand Canyon, and the Mission San Xavier del Bac. Zooming in on the map reveals even more details including Meteor Crater and the Mogollon Rim too.

The books, which were selected by librarians from across the state, are represented by color-coded icons on the map in the approximate locations of their main settings. Because librarians serve the needs of all members of the community, children’s books and teen’s books are represented alongside more general fiction and nonfiction categories. Books in these categories can be toggled on and off through a drop down menu in the upper right of the map.

Clicking on any of the book icons, which are fairly evenly distributed across the state, opens a pop-up window showing the title, book cover, and a short synopsis. The title also links to a WorldCat entry for the title.

The map is just one part of the Reading Arizona: The Literary Landscape project. While it was a challenge to select a good mix of the initial 100 works from across the state and various genres to represent Arizona’s literary heritage, there are many more works set in the state. These works are collected in a separate list accessible from the top of the page, making it possible to easily find an enormous range of written works set in the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona is Booma’s home state, so this map and the associated project fill us with pride, but as well-designed as the map is, a new message across the top of the page–“This map does not work in the latest version of Firefox or IE”–is a reminder that this, like so many literary mapping projects, is not a living project that will continue to grow and evolve, which is one of the goals of Booma.

What is your favorite state literary map? Let us know in the comments below or via email at booma@booma.us.