Monday, October 8, 2012

NC Literary Map Unveiled

A student working on a report . . .

A traveler with an interest in historic literary sites . . .

A teacher preparing a lesson plan . . .

A writer interested in places that have inspired other writers . . .

A book club planning its discussions centering around a particular author or set in a particular place . . .

These are but some of the users of the North Carolina Literary Map, a new, free resource produced by the University Libraries at UNC Greensboro in collaboration with the North Carolina Center for the Book. The NC Literary Map, found on the Internet at, identifies the North Carolina places associated with more than 3000 writers and more than 4700 of their books with an interactive online tool that is designed to foster interest in the state’s rich literary tradition.

In recognition of the strong literary tradition at UNCG and its award-winning MFA Writing program, and utilizing the strong technical development staff in the University Libraries, UNCG’s Special Collections and University Archives Department  decided to update the state’s paper literary maps done in the past with an online reference tool that is both interactive and environmentally friendly, and were pleased to collaborate with the North Carolina Center for the Book at the State Library to do so.  “The State Library of North Carolina is proud to be a partner in this wonderful Literary Map project,” said State Librarian Caroline ‘Cal’ Shepard. “Our state has a rich written heritage, and we are fortunate to have such a wonderful tool to guide us in our explorations.”

North Carolina novelist Michael Parker says, “Doris Betts' statement that you could not throw a rock in Chapel Hill and not hit a writer seems to be true of the entire state.   I have a copy of the previous map hanging on my wall, and, as crowded as it is, it looks almost sparse compared to this new online version.  The inclusion of so many new voices, all across our state, is so impressive that I am inclined to think that literature is the Old North State's greatest export."

Want to see how to use Map and learn more about it?  Staff from the University Libraries will be demonstrating the NC Literary Map and answering questions about it at the following locations at the Fabulous Fridays programs sponsored by the Public Library Section of the North Carolina Library Association’s during October:

Other presentations about the Literary Map will be:

A free webinar for anyone interested in the map will be held on October 24 at 3:30 p.m.  Register at  The webinar will be recorded and available for later viewing.

The North Carolina Literary Map is an open and ongoing project, and encourages readers to contact the project staff at with suggested changes or additions. Criteria for inclusion are listed on the website, but please let them know if there is an author or a book that you believe should be included or if the existing information is incomplete.   The following blogs are being developed and maintained by the Special Collections and University Archives at UNCG:

Please contact the project staff at for more information.

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