The Portable Library of Hong Samud

Maps of the Library
a work in progress
transcribed by David J. Keffer


Cartography of the Library:
Numerous conflicting representations of the library of Hong Samud exist, because each patron to the library experiences it somewhat differently than any other. Several archetypal representations are presented below. This selection is by no means intended to be exhaustive.


A Circular Version:
The most common description of the geometry of Hong Samud's Library is that of a circle, in which one can walk around endlessly, never encountering the same two rooms, unless one turns and retraces one's steps. One should also note that the library, in its current state, appears to be infinite. Walking counter-clockwise, a patron encounters different rooms than one does walking in a clockwise direction. While many have suggested that the library is a closed loop, there are no report of having completed the loop by simply continuing to walk in one direction until returning to one's point of origin.


A Distorted Circular Version:
Several patrons have remarked on the disorienting effect of the geometry in the library. Some portion of this unsettling feeling is certainly due to the fact that the intellect perceives the library as a spiralling ramp (How else can a complete loop lead to a new room?), while the body experiences none of the sensations commensurate with ascending or descending an incline. However, beyond this effect, some patrons remark that the nature of the library cannot be rendered in so simple a concept as a circle, in which only a single parameter, the radius, is required to define it. They insist that more complexity is present in the central corridor. The simplest such perturbation is to distort the circle in a systematic way.


A Rounded Square Version:
Some patrons to the library perceive the endless nature of the central corridor to have more straight components to it, in which they can see an unending path stretching out before them, in sharp contrast to a circle, in which only a short segment of the hall is visible before it lost around the impending, omnipresent curve. Of course, infinitely long straight corridors are difficult to render in a map. Some approximate rendering must be accommodated.


An Arabesque Version:
Numerous versions of the library, which deviate sharply from simple forms exist, each unique unto themselves. Here we provide only one such example, further illustrating the disorienting effect that the library has on many patrons.


A Square Version:
Several renderings of the library as being composed exclusively of straight corridors and right angles exist. Since there are virtually no first-hand reports that corroborate such a geometry, we assume that such maps result strictly from the limited skills of the cartographer in question.


Various Attributions:
The parchment used as the background in these images was downloaded from from the following URL, It was created by user Wojciech Sadlej under the username "wojtar-stock". The artist notes, "Please let me know if you use this stock photo. You are allowed to use this in a nonprofit manor. (sic)"

The tiles with which the maps were made were downloaded from in 2014. As of the time of writing, this page no longer exists. Archived versions of the page provide the following information regarding attribution, "You may use these tiles in your personal or commercial works, with the limitations below: IMPORTANT: - You may not extract textures for use as stand alone items. - You must credit "". [One or more textures in this pack have been created with images from These images may not be redistributed by default, please visit for more information.] It would be nice, but not required, to credit "ProBono", "", "", and "Paint.Net". +++Some tiles are marked "Additional artwork provided by" Contact GreyTale if considering commercial use of those tiles.+++ [GreyTale parts are in tiles 34, 49, 59, 75, 76, 88, 98, 125, 126, 132, 133, 136,141,242,269,272,274,275,276.] Enjoy! (ProBono 2012.)" Several of the tiles were modified by David Keffer.