I’ve decided that I should occasionally expose my readers to Libraries I Love (many of which I work at or at least frequent). I highly recommend you visit all of them, as they are lovely places with wonderful staff members and amazing holdings.
For most of the past year I have volunteered at the Illinois History & Lincoln Collections Library, a branch of the main library at the University of Illinois. This summer I’ve officially begun a practicum (a structured internship for academic credit) there which will continue through the fall. My main project for the practicum is dealing with a large and out of sorts map collection (something which I will post about at length in a future post).
I’ve loved the IL History & Lincoln Library since I first stepped through its doorway last fall. However, for those who are unfamiliar with it, here are some reasons why you should visit, if you get the chance:
- There is Abraham Lincoln artwork everywhere and it is all amazing.
- The collections contain approximately 25,000 volumes, 2,000 cubic feet of manuscripts, and a large number of maps, broadsides, prints and photographs, artifacts, and ephemera. That is an amazing amount of information with something for everyone!
- You will have access to completely unique resources. For instance, how would you like to read the letters of a Civil War soldier that are completely unpublished and have been seen by less than a dozen people? You can hold undiscovered history in your own two hands!
- The people who work there are lovely, insightful, and always willing to help!
- If you’re from Illinois you can look up where your original family homestead was using the extensive collection of historical platmaps.
- You can rub elbows with researchers from all over the country!
- If you are a Champaign/Urbana local, it is much closer than the Lincoln Museum in Springfield.
- Unlike many other libraries on campus, the IL History & Lincoln Library has archival materials and is adjacent to the Rare Books Library; hence, the careful climate control makes for a blissfully comfortable reading room.
- You’ll have access to the latest Lincoln scholarship (yes, it is definitely still being produced en masse), including such recent titles as: American oracle : the Civil War in the civil rights era, The global Lincoln, and Lincoln, Inc. : selling the sixteenth president in contemporary America.
- Let me reiterate: Lincoln. Artwork. It does not get better, people.
To visit the Illinois History & Lincoln Collections:
Address: 322 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801
Hours: M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: (217) 333-1777