1408 W. Gregory Dr.

Urbana, IL 61801



Charles A. Platt designed the Main Library Building in the early 1920's in the Georgian style. Construction began in 1924 and was completed in 1929. This building has undergone extensive renovations the past few years. It was originally meant to house 1 million volumes in the bookstacks, it now houses over 6 million volumes in the Main Stacks. 

The Main Library is part of a University-wide library system that collectively holds over 13 million physical volumes, with access to over 24 million volumes including electronic holdings. There are 9 departmental, or subject, libraries within the Main Library building that are listed below. Be careful where you go; the Main Library is a magical place that doesn't always make sense to the visitor. Check out some of the things we have to offer in this building. The rest of the University Library System can be found here.

Notable Decorations in Main Library

Bronze Tablets

U of I began inscribing the Bronze Tablets with the names of students receiving University Honors in 1925. Each year, they hang a new tablet on the first floor of the Main Library containing the names of Honors students from the previous year. To get your name on a bronze tablet, students  must have at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA and rank in the top three percent of their graduating class. The University Library has a searchable image collection of every bronze tablet on their website.

Jame Audubon's Birds of America

On the second floor of the Main Library there is a facsimile display of James Audubon's Birds of America. James Audubon published his original collection of Birds of America in 1840-1844. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library has the original copy in their collections. The print in the display case is changed weekly by the Research and Information Services department. You can find a schedule of which prints go up what week here.

Hemisphere Murals

These murals are found in the central staircase of the Main Library leading from the first to the second floor. They were designed by Barry Faulkner in 1927 in the Art Deco style. Faculty originally wanted recognizable imagery that depicted life in the Midwest, but Faulkner painted these allegorically. Fun fact: Ptolemy is depicted in the Celestial Hemisphere holding a telescope, which was not invented in his lifetime. This caused a small uproar back in the day, but it has now been largely forgotten.

Hemisphere Murals

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Libraries Located in the Main Library

Central Access Services

Classics Library

History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL)

Illinois History and Lincoln Collections

International and Area Studies Library (IAS)

Literature and Languages Library 

Map and Geography Library

Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML)

Research and Information Services

Scholarly Commons

Social Sciences Health and Education Library (SSHEL)

University Archives

See Also

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries


Pages tagged “University Library”