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K-State Today

November 16, 2015

Celebrate Geography Awareness Week, view maps in the K-State Libraries Special Collections

Submitted by Hayden Colleen Murphey and Thomas B. Larsen

In recognition of this year's Geography Awareness Week theme, "Explore! The Power of Maps," the Geography Club and Gamma Theta Upsilon, Beta Psi chapter are collaborating with the Morse Department of Special Collections in the K-State Libraries to highlight maps in its collections.

From Nov. 16-20, a map station will be available each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Special Collections' Reading Room, in 506 Hale Library. Also, David Vail and another librarian will be available to answer questions about the resources from 9 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Visitors wanting to view the map station should let the receptionist know upon entering Special Collections.

In addition, Gamma Theta Upsilon-Beta Psi has placed maps of obscure countries in many of the bathroom stalls on campus.

This year's theme coincides with International Map Year, which is sponsored by the International Cartographic Association and supported by the United Nations. Maps are an important tool for people to visualize and think about patterns across space. Maps are essential components for tasks like disaster response, city planning, environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, policy issues and historical research.

Geography Awareness Week is a national event organized by National Geographic that celebrates geography. The week-long event stresses the importance of place and how we affect and are affected by it. Around the nation, geography educators and advocates are reaching out to K-12 classrooms, politicians, museums, libraries, local businesses, and college campuses.

The goal is to enrich the minds of Americans with the benefits of thinking geographically. A recent study in the journal Neuron by Tavares identifies a correlation between spatial skills and the ability to navigate social situations. In today's increasingly globalizing and interconnected society, geography becomes evermore necessary for Americans to know.

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