Champaign Public Library - Main Branch

200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820 | Phone: (217) 403-2000 | Website:


The Champaign Public Library (CPL) connects our community with the power of knowledge, the world of culture and ideas, and the joy of reading. We support the essential role of reading for success in life and work, the need for easy and equal access to lifelong learning, and the value of enriching and inspiring experiences. The CPL consists of two affiliated libraries, the main Champaign Public Library and the Douglass Branch Library. For information on Douglass Branch, click here!

The library utilizes many technologies to aid in this mission, including for example self-check-out stations; fully automated security and system updates for computers that are controlled by group policy; an automated sorting system for new materials; room- and event-booking software that is available online; and a new and effective website.

There is a coffee shop, open meeting rooms, study rooms, a story room, and a children's, adult, and teen area with computers in all three of the areas. There is also a used bookstore located on the lower level of the library that sells used books, dvd's, cd's, and certain items available to purchase through Amazon ( link for FriendShop Bookstore at the bottom of the page). The bookstore recently extended their hours and are now open five days a week.  The library offers a variety of programming events including storytimes, concerts, book clubs and more.


Monday-Wednesday: 9 am-9 pm

Thursday-Friday: 9 am-6 pm

Saturday: 10 pm- 6 am

Sunday: 1 pm- 6 pm 


The CPL began a small private reading room created in 1868. About 300 books and some periodicals were housed at No. 7 Main Street in Champaign, with 40 members paying dues to the private Champaign Library Association. The association dissolved in 1876, donating its resources to the City of Champaign in order to create a public library. The City Council accepted the gift and created a budget, and on July 21, 1876, the Champaign Public Library and Reading Room was born. It soon moved to a new location, No. 24 Main Street, and accumulated 750 volumes. During this time, there was one librarian for the collection, and anyone over the age of 10 could borrow books.

In 1889 the collection moved to the city building at the corner of University and Neil. Five years later, A. C. Burnham, a banker from Champaign, donated money for a new library, which opened on December 17, 1896. Burnham also created a $10,000 book endowment, and when the new library opened the collection reached 5,593 books. The collection grew to over 100,000 items, requiring a staff of 40 and a new building. A new library was built with funds from a referendum and dedicated in November of 505 S. Randolph Street, where it remained until 2008.

In 1965, the Friends of the Champaign Public Library was founded in order to support the library through volunteering and funding opportunities. Another support organization, the Champaign Public Library Foundation, was established in 1993 to solicit private gifts in order to safeguard the mission of the library.

In 1970, the Douglass Center Library was organized as the first branch library in Champaign-Urbana, as a joint project of the two libraries, the Lincoln TrailLibraries System, and the Champaign Park District. In 1972, it began to operate as a branch of the Champaign Public Library (for more on the history and technology use of this library, please see its report). To learn more about the  

Since the opening of the library’s Randolph Street facility, the size of the collection has doubled, and library use has tripled. Just a few years after it opened, the collection and use outgrew the building, and plans were developed to construct a new building to house the collection and meet the growing community demand for both resources and space. The current library building opened in January 2008; it has three times the space and four times as many computers as the previous facility, and it’s original collection of 285,000 items has grown to about 400,000.

In terms of technology, much has happened in the last several years. In 2005, when the existing Technology Services Manager began working at CPL (which was still in in the old building), the library had 19 public computer stations and very little of the network was automated. The number of public computers has since grown to almost 90 and all of the updates and daily tasks are automated for the entire network; these represent snapshots of the dramatic technological changes that have occurred in the past few years.


This CU wiki entry began as a UIUC research project.  For more on that see Study of UC2B Anchor Institutions' Technology Use