Have to give a huge shout-out to one of my local libraries, the Urbana Free Library. I’ve been a patron for many years, but never had my very own UFL card until I started grad school and actually moved to Urbana. While many may prefer the Champaign Public Library, for its shiny, new building (which is, indeed, awesome), the Urbana Free will always have a special place in my heart. Reasons why I keep coming back:
- The building is so lovely (I know I say this for almost every Library I Love, but get used to it – I love me some library buildings).
- The library has an enormous collection of almost everything you could ever want, including books, magazines, movies, music, ebooks, and so much more. Plus, if they don’t have it, they’ll check to see if Champaign does, so you can still get it within a few days!
- The Champaign County Historical Archives is housed on the second floor, and is truly an amazing county-level archive. Complete with local, state, and general resources, the archives is a must-see for anyone interested in local history and/or genealogy.
- The Urbana Free is staffed with super helpful librarians who will help you figure out how to put a hold an all the various editions and copies of Game of Thrones so that you can get your hands on the first one that comes back (seriously, guys, lemme at that book).
- Through programming, classes, and even e-reader lending, the Urbana Free does a lot to break down the digital divide in our twin city community.
- In the spring and summer, the outside of the building is covered in ivy/greenery. Can you say gorgeous?
- For caffeine addicts, there’s a coffee shop in the front lobby! Perfect for that study break snack craving!
- The library website features a number of frequently updated blogs, at least one of which is sure to strike your fancy:
Local History & Genealogy
- Lots of natural light and cozy reading nooks, aka, just what I need when I’m looking for a break from my normal academic library haunts.
- One of the coolest Children’s Departments around! (Which I unfortunately cannot find a picture of…)
With an awesome multi-level playroom, colorfully painted walls/murals, and even a section where kids can display their “collections” for everyone to see, the Urbana Free Children’s Department is fun for everyone!
To visit the Urbana Free Library:
210 West Green Street
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9AM-9PM; Friday-Saturday, 9AM-6PM; Sunday, 1-5PM