This is a page for Graduate Students in the Library and Information Science Department who travel to campus once a semester. Have any tips or tricks for the trek to campus?  Add them here! 

  • What to bring and expect for Boot Camp
  • Travel Information
  • Hotel Information
  • Services
  • Places to Check Out!
  • Graduation
  • Tips and Tricks


What to bring and expect for Boot Camp

Boot Camp is an intense week of class but it should be an amazing time to meet your new colleagues, explore Champaign-Urbana and get your toes wet when it comes to the next few years of your graduate life.  That said, there are ways to make your experience a little less awful. 

What to Bring

  • flip flops for the showers even if you're not squeamish (this is how some popular fungi spread)
  • a to-go cup for coffee and a reusable water bottle
  • a few spare cardigans: the air conditioning is harsh

What to Expect

  • Lasting relationships.
  • Group projects are things that happens, embrace them. 
  • The LEEP 17 cohort has created a wiki explaining what to expect, called Look Before You LEEP. Sign in with your Moodle username and password. 

Other Useful Tips

  • Do your reading ahead of time and take notes.  Professor Sweeney has a great article on How To Read For Grad School
  • The beds in the dorms are really high and hard to get in to.  Don't be ashamed to re-live your adventures getting in to them with your classmates. 
  • If you're worried about carrying things on the plane, mail your readings/dirty laundry back home. Flat rate boxes are available at all post-offices and are well worth the money to lessen your burden. 
  • Figure out what works for you in terms of studying, stress, and time management and make it work!

Travel Information

Traveling to campus can be exhausting! Luckily it's worth it to see your colleagues and spend time with your classmates.  There are a lot of ways to get to campus but definitely build in some spare room to your trip, especially in the winter.  Book hotels early as even the blocks reserved by GSLIS can fill up quickly.  Check out the Transportation page for more information as well. 


 Willard Airport is a few miles from campus and American Airlines serves the airport.  Taxis are available, and buses run through as well. 


If you fly into O'Hare, the blue el line runs to Union Station in Chicago.  The el costs $5 to leave the airport and you have to buy the debit card. Amtrak trains run to campus and make many stops along the way. They also offer AAA discounted tickets. You can also bring your bike on the train! 

Once at the Terminal, the Teal, Green, and Brown bus lines run to campus. 


Driving to campus is easy! Be sure to check for weather conditions and local traffic before setting off. 

Parking Information - The Parking Department has information, maps, permit information and more. 

  • University of Illinois metered spaces (with the Block I sticker) cost $1/hour. These are spaces that are in parking lots by GSLIS.
  • City of Champaign metered spaces (City of Champaign sticker; street spaces) cost $0.75/hour (or $1/hour if they have a blue label affixed to the post), Monday - Saturday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.  Sunday parking is free all day.
  • Saturday and Sunday you don't have to pay UIUC or Champaign meters. But be careful! You still need to pay Urbana meters on Saturday.
  • You can pay by phone for University of Illinois parking meters:


  • The MTD Bus System serves Urbana-Champaign.  Spanish version site here

  • The MTD Bus System is free for students who have their student id.

  • The Illini Shuttle will take you straight from O'Hare to several spots on campus and vice-versa. Make sure to print and keep your ticket!

Biking and Walking

Be sure to check out local bike shops like Champaign Cycle and Kohlmann's Bike Shop.  This wiki page also has more helpful bike info. Also, The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign has useful services as well. 

Most of the area hotels are not quite within walking distance of campus and visitors should be aware that walking by yourself at night is not advised. 

Hotel Information

The iHotel has a shuttle that will take students to campus, as well as complimentary breakfast vouchers. 

The Hilton Garden has a shuttle that transports guests to and from the Terminal but not to campus. 

During Summer Session, rooms are often available at the Illini Union Hotel which is within walking distance of the GSLIS building. 

The Hampton Inn Champaign-Urbana is a 3 minute drive and a 15-20 minute walk from the GSLIS building. They offer free coffee and tea 24/7, which is great if you have a long night during boot camp week!



Health/Care Services

Should you find yourself in need of medical attention on your visit, there are a number of area hospitals.  Yellow Pages provides a helpful list here.  The Healthcare page also has more information.  There are also a number of Support Groups available if you need them while on campus.  AA and NA meetings are listed here. The Transgender resources page has helpful information as well even if you are just visiting for the weekend. 

Childcare Services

The Childcare Resource Service has a lot of information for those who have kids and is affiliated with the University of Illinois. 

Pet Services

There are a number of veterinary hospitals in Champaign-Urbana as well as pet-walking services. Also, Champaign has a dog park! And Urbana has a dog park

Church Services

Champaign-Urbana is home to an enormous variety of spiritual spaces.  The Religious Institutions page has an awesome list. 

Places to check out! 

Food and Drink

The Black Dog - Amazing BBQ and interesting, delicious beers.

Quality Bar - Home of the LEEP Social and plenty of great beers.

Merry Ann's Diner - Open late for snacking. 

Espresso Royale - Don't forget to get a rewards card, you will buy so much coffee it's worth it! Also re-using your cups gets you a discount. 

Check out this page on the local wiki for Trivia Nights in Urbana-Champaign! 

Check out this page for the best pad thai in town!


Champaign Public Library is a great space not to far from campus. There is plenty of workspace and a nice cafe on the first floor. 

Urbana Free Library  is another wonderful resource worth exploring. Spanish version pages found here.

The Center for Children's Books is a wonderful gem hidden in the basement of the GSLIS building. 

Other fun events

Check out these festivals if you have the chance. 

How does graduation work?

To graduate, make sure you "apply" to do so on Blackboard.

For those graduating in the Spring, the all-campus ceremony is a large to-do but GSLIS has their own ceremony.  You can participate in person (formal attire is suggested but not required) or you can participate virtually.  There is a chat room available for everyone watching virtually. You will receive your diploma in the mail. 

Tips and Tricks! 

It's easy to feel disconnected when we are all so far away from campus but there are some great ways to maintain community. 

  • Create a Facebook group for your LEEP cohort.
  • Follow GSLIS on TwitterFacebook or LinkedIn
  • Have a blog or tumblr? Post it to the Community Forum page on the Moodle. 
  • Organize a meet-up in your respective city! LEEP alums are everywhere. 
  • Visit local libraries everywhere you go. 
  • Join the various GSLIS alum networks. 
  • Also check out the various GSLIS publications
  • Participate in the Progressive Librarians Guild

See Also:

Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

LEEP wiki 

GSLIS wiki 

So many resources are available to LEEP students.  Check out the Library's lib guide for distance students doing research.