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
- Tours of the Library
- Borrowing library materials
- Organization of the library
- Find help
- Learn more
- Video Tour of 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.
- Using compact shelving in the Main Stacks
- Find material in the Main Stacks
- Departmental libraries
- Oak Street Facility
- Oak Street Reading Room
- Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery
The Library provides myriad services to help you get your research done.
- Find a place to study in the Library - There are many places to study in the Library, ranging from very quiet to more casual settings. If you're looking for a particularly studious environment, try one of the departmental libraries or the Reading Room. If you would like to hang out with the undergraduate students, the first floor of the Undergraduate Library is the place to be (there are study rooms on the 2nd floor underground). Grainger Engineering Library has group study rooms available on a first come-first serve basis. And finally, you can reserve your very own Main Stacks research carrel.
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.
- Library tours - Attend a tour in-person. We'll show you around the Library and introduce library resources.
- Virtual tour of the Library
- History of the Library - Watch a video
- The Library - An inside look
- Behind the scenes at the Library
- Art in the Library
- Google map of all libraries
- Getting a library card
- Borrowing privileges by University status
- Campus mail - If you are a faculty member or graduate student with a campus office, you can have library materials sent to you through campus mail.
- Proxy authorization - Illinois faculty members, graduate students, and other library borrowers with extenuating circumstances may authorize another library borrower to charge out Library materials for them.
- Renewing materials
- Returning library materials
- FAQ - Your library account
- Resolve your Library billing issues or get help resolving a problem or ask a circulation question
The Library currently uses several types of organization systems for our resources. Learn how materials are organized on the shelf.
- Glossary of library terms
- Learn how to read Dewey Call Numbers
- Learn to read a Library of Congress Number - Music, Asian, Undergraduate Library (the entire Illinois collection is being converted from Dewey Decimal Classification to Library of Congress Classification)
- Learn to read United Nations Documents classification and UN call numbers - International Government Documents
- Learn to read Superintendent of Documents call numbers - National Government Documents
View this 9 minute video for an introduction to the Library and its services and resources.