The Champaign Public Library and Burnham Athenaeum was located at 306 W. Church Street in Champaign. The building was named for Albert C. Burnham who, in 1895, donated the site and $15,000 for the construction of a new public library. The neo-classical, fireproof building was the design of architect Julius A. Schweinfurth. It served as the city library until 1978.
The collection contains lists of books originally purchased for the library, orders, invoices, bills, and receipts for acquisitions, 1895-1936. Also included are library reports, financial reports, insurance policies, cancelled checks, and some correspondence. Two ledgers list the books purchased with the Julia F. Burnham Fund and the daily register of magazines borrowed from the library in 1896.