Gwenni Merrill

Written by Gwenni Merrill

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is not just your ordinary library. It is a place that holds a wealth of information, knowledge, and history. With its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and digital resources, it serves as a vital hub for intellectual exploration and academic research.

But did you know that behind its grand facade, there are astonishing facts that make this library truly unique? From its architectural marvels to its impressive collections, the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has much to offer. In this article, we will delve into 11 fascinating facts that will leave you amazed and with a newfound appreciation for this remarkable institution.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a treasure trove of knowledge with over 24 million items, including rare books and digital resources, making it a must-visit for students and researchers.
  • From its stunning neoclassical architecture to its vibrant community space, the library offers a wide range of services, including digital scholarship support and a vast collection of maps and atlases, making it a hub of learning and innovation.
Table of Contents

The Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the largest public university libraries in the United States.

With over 24 million items in its collection, including books, journals, and digital resources, this library is a treasure trove of knowledge and information for students, researchers, and the general public.

The library’s history dates back to 1867.

It was established just a few years after the founding of the university itself. Since then, it has grown exponentially, both in terms of its physical space and its collection.

The library is home to the famous Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

This special collection houses rare and valuable items, including ancient manuscripts, early printed books, and unique archival materials. It is a haven for scholars and book enthusiasts alike.

The library has a dedicated preservation and conservation department.

With the goal of preserving and protecting its valuable collection, the library employs a team of experts who work tirelessly to ensure that the materials are properly cared for and maintained for future generations.

The library offers a wide range of services and resources to support research and academic pursuits.

From interlibrary loan services to research consultations, the library provides students and faculty with the tools they need to excel in their studies and scholarly endeavors.

The library is a hub of technological innovation.

With state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technologies, the library embraces the digital age and provides users with access to online databases, digital collections, and multimedia resources.

The library’s Main Library building is an architectural marvel.

Designed by architect Charles A. Platt, the building features beautiful neoclassical-style columns and intricate decorative details, creating a stunning and inspiring environment for learning and research.

The library houses a vast collection of maps and atlases.

Whether you’re studying geography, history, or simply interested in exploring different parts of the world, the library’s map collection is a valuable resource that will open up new horizons.

The library offers extensive support for digital scholarship.

From digitizing rare materials to providing training and guidance on digital research methods, the library actively promotes and facilitates the use of digital tools and technologies in academic research.

The library’s Special Collections include some unique and notable items.

From the personal papers of famous authors and politicians to original artwork and rare artifacts, the Special Collections at the library provide a glimpse into the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region.

The library is a vibrant and inclusive community space.

With study areas, meeting rooms, and various events and exhibitions, the library serves as a gathering place for students, faculty, and the wider community, fostering collaboration, engagement, and intellectual growth.

These 11 astonishing facts about The Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offer just a glimpse into the richness and significance of this remarkable institution. Whether you’re a student, a researcher, or simply an avid reader, this library has something to offer everyone.


In conclusion, the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is truly a remarkable landmark filled with fascinating history, impressive collections, and innovative technologies. From its iconic architecture to its diverse range of resources, it serves as a hub of knowledge and learning for students, researchers, and the community. Whether you’re a bibliophile, a tech enthusiast, or simply curious about the world of academia, a visit to this extraordinary library is sure to leave you awe-inspired.


Q: What is the significance of the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

A: The library holds immense significance as one of the largest academic research libraries in the United States, providing invaluable resources for scholars, students, and the general public.

Q: How old is the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

A: The library was established in 1867, making it over 150 years old and steeped in rich history.

Q: Can I visit the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign even if I’m not a student or researcher?

A: Absolutely! The library welcomes visitors from all walks of life, offering various tours and exhibitions to showcase its collections, architecture, and cutting-edge technologies.

Q: What are some notable collections housed in the library?

A: The library boasts an extensive collection, including rare books, manuscripts, archives, maps, and digital resources. Notable collections include the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, and the University Archives.

Q: Are there any special features or technologies available in the library?

A: Yes, the library is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and innovations. It offers access to high-tech research labs, digitization services, virtual reality experiences, maker spaces, and collaborative study areas, providing a dynamic and interactive learning environment.

Uncover more fascinating library facts and delve into the world of higher education. Explore the astounding discoveries waiting at Spencer Research Library, where research comes alive. Immerse yourself in the captivating collections at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, a treasure trove of knowledge. Lastly, embark on a journey to University Of Warsaw for a glimpse into its rich history and academic excellence.

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