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Introduction to the Library

View University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- University Libraries in a larger map.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the proud home of one of the largest and richest public research library collections in North America. Our 24 million items, the vast majority of which are paper and book-based, include Medieval manuscripts, large collections of incunabula and early printed books, literary manuscripts, maps and atlases, prints, and all sizes and types of printed books and other paper objects. The University Library is committed to sustaining and enhancing its capacity to treat and protect its important paper-based collections, with the majority of conservation and preservation-related investments focused on the care of its rare, unique, and otherwise valuable objects. 

Using the Library


The University of Illinois Library system is largely decentralized into the Main Stacks (over 5 million items!) and several departmental libraries located in the Main Library and across campus. Items with a low circulation history but still essential to the collection are housed at the Oak Street Facility. If we don't have an item in our collection, you can borrow materials from I-Share, a consortium of 76 libraries across Illinois. If you still cannot find what you need, you can request books, articles and other research materials through our Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery service. 

The Library provides myriad services to help you get your research done. 

Tours of the Library


The University Library offers myriad opportunities for you to learn your way around the Main Library building and libraries across campus as well as how the Library's resources are organized. 

The Library's holdings are physically housed in approximately 26 departmental libraries, area studies centers, and special collections throughout the library system and in the central bookstacks in the Main Library. While some departmental libraries are housed in the Main Library building, others are strategically located near the department or college whose study, teaching, and research needs they serve. Each library maintains reference materials in its particular subject areas and offers a full range of reference services geared toward assisting library users with specialized information needs.

Each departmental library maintains a homepage with information about its collections and services.

Borrowing library materials


Organization of Library resources


The Library currently uses several types of organization systems for our resources. Learn how materials are organized on the shelf. 

Learn more