5 Reasons Our Libraries are Awesome

There are a lot of reasons I love Illinois, and a  lot of them are related to our library system, which is home to one of the largest and richest public research library collections in North America. Pretty cool, huh? As an Illinois student, you’ll find libraries everywhere, not just as freestanding buildings, but in your residence hall and maybe that building where you take a bunch of classes for your major.

I could give you a bunch more facts about how many we have, etc., but I think they’re a lot more than books and numbers.

Main Library Books

I couldn’t resist taking a pic of the rainbow of books.

Here are my top five reasons why our libraries are exceptional:

They’re beautiful.

ACES Library

Taken on my way to an Econ exam last semester.

If you’re only into libraries for the aesthetic, then Illinois is the right place for you. Pretty much all of our libraries are good for a good ‘gram. I think the ACES Library is one of the most underappreciated on campus. It boasts a particularly cheery study atmosphere because its massive windows let in so much sunlight. You can pretend you’re lying out on the Quad instead of staring down a Word Doc.


They go as hard as you do.

Stressed Doug

Via Giphy

The Undergraduate Library (UGL) and Grainger Engineering Library are both open 24 hours, Sunday through Friday. (They do close on Fridays and Saturdays, when you’re theoretically taking a break from studying.) But wait, Maggie, how will I stay up all night studying? Espresso Royale! Both the UGL and Grainger have Espresso Royale coffee shops located inside them, which are open pretty late so you can caffeinate as much as you want.

I’ve spent approximately 30 hours in the library these last few weeks finishing up an undergraduate thesis in English and working on final projects, and I’m definitely not the only one in the library a lot these days!

They have more than just books for checking out.

Mario Kart Kats

Via Giphy

All hail the Media Commons in the UGL! Forgot your laptop charger at home for the weekend? Borrow one from the Media Commons. Your Nintendo DS is busted, but you really need to play something mindless for a little while? Media Commons. Need a DSLR camera for class? Media Commons. Oh no, I lost my iPhone charger! Media Commons. (Also, most residence hall libraries have cell phone chargers you can borrow.)

Notably, things like iPhone and laptop chargers can only be checked out for two hours at a time and can’t leave the library, but they’re a good option for desperate times. When I lived in Allen Hall as a freshman and sophomore, I had easy access to CDs, DVDs, and even sheet music right there in the Allen library, too. Never underestimate what the library can do for you!

They’ll help you ace that paper. (So many online resources!)

Homer Simpson and Dictionary

Via Giphy

I’m an English major, so you know what I use a lot? JSTOR, the Oxford English Dictionary, and MLA Style. What does the library give me access to? All three of these these resources, just by being an Illinois student. It’s wonderful. It’s magical.

It means I can finish a paper from the comfort of my own apartment with pajamas on and tea by my side (as long as I’m logged into my library account). Inevitably as an Illinois student, you do or you will be using some sort of reference, database, or journal. You have access to these things through the university library system’s website. Just click on what you need in the light blue box between the navy “Easy Search” box and the orange “Libraries & Hours” bar.

Library Website

Where the magic happens.

The librarians are majorly helpful and accessible from far away, too!

See that box to the right of the navy “Easy Search” box in the screenshot above of the library’s website? The “Ask a Librarian” feature lets you ask library-related questions from a a real librarian while you’re working hard on something from your residence hall or anywhere else that isn’t actually the library.

Librarians are great in person, too, but this is an awesome perk of the university libraries, too.

I hope someday you love the libraries at Illinois as much as I do! Thanks for reading!


Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Sten Martin

July 28, 2017, 8:53 am

Is there cloud storage or direct exchange opporunity of library’s materials?