COVID-19 Resource Page

Library update:

Updated November 24, 2020

Tech By Appointment Only is live! If you need to use a computer, printer (color or B&W), scan/fax, or copy machine on the Second Floor, click here to make an appointment. Appointments can be made 3 days in advance and up to 30 minutes before the top of the hour. All appointments are for 60 minutes, but your actual time using the technology will be 45 minutes to ensure you have extra time to make your way to the Second Floor, sanitize your computer or other technology, and leave before the top of the next hour.

Please arrive promptly for your appointment at the Green Street doors.  A Library staff member will greet patrons until 10 after the hour and check the appointment list for your name.

If you arrive early, please wait in your car or outside the Green Street doors.  Staff will greet you at the top of the hour until 10 minutes after the hour. 

Please sanitize your hands immediately upon entering the building.  A mask completely covering your nose and mouth is required at all times.  Please go directly to the Second Floor for your appointment to use technology.

Updated November 19, 2020

Starting on Friday, November 20, the Library will modify its service model in response to Tier 3 mitigation recommendations.  The Library building will be temporarily closed to visitors for general use.

We are here to serve the community - just in a different way! Services available include: Curbside Pickup, Tech by Appointment Only (starting November 23), phone and email reference service, Home Delivery, eResources, and virtual programs.

  • Click here for more information on Curbside Pickup.
  • The outside book drops are open for returns. No book donations accepted at this time.
  • Parents - try our Books and More! Bundles service to get a stack of books and items on a topic of interest. Complete the form here and schedule a Curbside Pickup to get your items.
  • You can also get a Personalized Reading List by filling out this form.
  • Home Delivery services will continue.  Click here for more information.
  • Got questions? Phone reference available by calling 217-367-4405 or by emailing reference@urbanafree.org. You can also fill out this form.
  • The Champaign County Historical Archives is available to answer questions.  Call them at 217-367-4025 or email archives@urbanafree.org.
  • Click here to see all our eResources.
  • Click here to see eBooks and More.
  • Need a library card? Sign-up for an eCard here.
  • Click here to see all our virtual programs.

Need to use technology at the Library?  Starting Monday, November 23, you can make an appointment to use a computer, printer (color or black & white), scanner/fax machine, or copier on the Second Floor at the Library.  To make an appointment, call 217-367-4405 or go to our website (starting Nov. 23) and click on Tech By Appointment Only.

Library Services Available:
Monday - Thursday: 9am - 7pm
Friday - Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 1pm - 5pm

Questions? We can help!  Email us at reference@urbanafree.org or call us at 217-367-4405.

Past updates from our Executive Director Celeste Choate are below.

Expanded Library resources available during COVID-19.

Where to get facts:

Useful resources:

Resources for Assistance during COVID-19:

Employment and Unemployment

Emergency Child Care

General Support

  • CU Community Resources - Provides information on local organizations providing food, shelter & housing assistance, restaurants offering free meals, legal aid, assistance to immigrants, childcare resources, support groups, clothing, transportation, internet, education and support to seniors.
  • Representative Rodney Davis’ website - Has information on direct payments for Americans, relief for small businesses, expanded benefits for the unemployed, and healthcare for the unemployed.
  • United Way of Champaign County assistance - Has information on how to file for unemployment insurance, 2-1-1, Regional Planning Commission, FamilyWize Prescription Discount, Taxes, Transportation, Creditors and Food from school districts.

Financial assistance

Public Wifi Hotspots

Business and Nonprofit Information

Health Insurance

Financial Information

Masks - Acquiring and Donating


From Executive Director Celeste Choate

Updated November 17, 2020

To increase staff and patron safety in the Library building, the Library will now enforce a 25 visitor limit in the building at one time.  Visitors to the Library will stop at the Green Street entrance upper lobby and be welcomed into the building.  If the 25 visitor capacity has been reached, a queue will form to allow visitors in as space allows.  Grab & Go operations continue - please read the October 31 update for more information.

Updated October 31, 2020

With Region 6 mitigations starting on 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 2, 2020, the Library has reviewed our current Grab & Go service model and Champaign County Safe guidelines and have determined that it is safe for us to continue Grab & Go operations for the time being.  When using the Library please:

  • Wear a mask completely covering your nose and mouth at all times.  Free masks are available at service desks on each floor.  Use our self-check stations or Curbside Pickup for contacless service.
  • Limit your time in the Library to 1-hour per day.
  • Maitain at least 6 feet of social distance from staff and other patrons.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Be patient and kind.

Other things to know:

  • Limited individual technology assistance is available due to social distancing guidelines.
  • The Hold Shelf is now self-serve to limit contact with staff and other patrons.  You can pick-up your holds on the shelf across from the Knox New Book Room.  A self-check station is nearby for contactless service.
  • The Library is regularly cleaning high touch areas for staff and patron safety. 
  • Occupancy limits for each floor of the building are posted.
  • In-person programs are canceled through the end of 2020. Check our calendar of events for information on online programs.
  • Meeting rooms and study rooms are not available for reservations at this time.

Updated September 28, 2020

Meeting room reservations and study room usage is canceled through October 25.  No in-person programs through the remainder of 2020.  Please review our Grab and Go guidelines before vising the Library.

Updated August 18, 2020

The Library continues to operate in the Grab and Go service model following Champaign County Safe guidelines for local businesses:

  • Wear a mask if medically able
  • Enter with clean hands
  • Adhere to social distancing measures
  • Use respiratory etiquette
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Be patient and kind

In-person programs, meeting room reservations, and study room usage is canceled through October 4, 2020.  Please continue to check this page for updates.

Updated July 15, 2020

For the safety of our patrons and staff, in-person Library programs and meeting room bookings are canceled through September 7, 2020.  Study Rooms will also remain closed.  Please continue to check this page for updates.

Updated June 26, 2020

Starting Saturday, June 27, Curbside Pickup for held items is moving to the Green Street parking lot!  Learn all about Curbside Pickup here. 

Updated June 20, 2020

It’s been a while!  We're excited to welcome you back into the Library building starting June 26 as we move into Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan. We will initially offer a Grab and Go service model with changes in the services we offer.

Grab and Go means that the building is open for limited services to minimize contact with staff and other patrons.  No seating will be available besides at computer stations. We ask that patrons enter the building, find what they need, and complete their transactions in an expedited way. 

We are following Champaign County Safe guidelines for local businesses:

  • Wear a mask if medically able
  • Enter with clean hands
  • Adhere to social distancing measures
  • Use respiratory etiquette
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Be patient and kind

Other things to know about Grab and Go:

At first, we will welcome the community into the building through the Green Street doors only.  The Race Street doors will remain closed.

  • There are capacity limits in each area of the Library and we will have signs up around the building with this information.  If possible, please do not bring extra family members or friends with you.
  • Throughout the Library, furniture will be removed or taped off to promote social distancing.
  • There is a limit of 1-hour per day in the building.
  • Self-service printing, copying, and faxing is available.
  • 20 computer stations will be available for 1-hour sessions (1 session per patron, per day).  To schedule an appointment, call 217-367-4405, email reference@urbanafree.org, or stop by. No individual computer assistance is available due to social distance guidelines.
  • The Champaign County Historical Archives will be open for 1-hour sessions by appointment only (to schedule an appointment: call 217-367-4025, email archives@urbanafree.org, or stop by).
  • No meeting room use (including study rooms) or in-person programs at this time.
  • Please abide by the social distancing markers on the floor in high-traffic areas and while waiting for staff assistance.

Regular service hours will resume:

Monday – Thursday:  9:00 a.m. -- 9:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday:  9:00 a.m. -- 6:00 p.m.
Sunday:  1:00 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m.

We are reserving Monday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for people vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the CDC (older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions).

Updated June 10, 2020

The Library is tentatively planning to reopen on Friday, June 26 for basic services.  We are excited to welcome the community back to our building and are still working out details that will keep staff and patrons safe.  As more information is available, we will continue to post here an on our social media channels. 

Updated June 8, 2020

The Urbana Free Library is accepting returns of Library materials!

Please:

1. Return items in plastic bags.
2. Separate items by type when possible (books in one bag, movies/music in another, etc.).
3. Return only Urbana Free items (exchange with Champaign Public has not begun yet).

Three convenient ways to return:

1. During your Curbside Pickup appointment (new expanded hours!).
2. During special “Drop Off and Go” hours on Elm Street—no appointment necessary!

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
3. To our outside returns in the Green Street parking lot 24/7 (walkers and cyclists only due to construction on Green Street). Note that any items too large to fit into the outside drops must be returned at Curbside Pickup appointments or designated "Drop Off and Go" times.

We will heat-treat or quarantine materials prior to check-in to ensure they are safe for staff and patrons to handle, so it may take 7-11 days for items to be removed from your Library account after they have been returned. We will waive overdue fees if your items go past their due dates while we quarantine them. Please do not attempt to clean or heat-treat items at home to prevent damage.

More info here.

Updated May 29, 2020

We've had an overwhelming response to our Curbside Pickup service - thank you, Urbana!  We appreciate everyone utilizing the service in the first two weeks and for your patience as we work out the kinks in something that's new to all of us.  Starting Monday, June 1, Curbside Pickup hours will expand to:

Monday-Thursday:  9am - 7pm
Friday-Saturday:  9am-5pm
Sunday:  1pm-4pm

You can get all the details about Curbside Pickup here.

We know everyone is anxious to return items so they can go out to other patrons - we are anxious, too.  Staff members are working hard on a plan that allows for safe return of materials that includes a quarantine period prior to being shelved or circulated again.  Plans for resuming interlibrary loan through Illinois Heartland Library System are also in the works.

In the meantime, we continue to extend due dates and no fines will be charged while the building is closed.  In addition, card expirations (including eCards) have been extended to August 1.

We are also anxious to welcome you back into the Library's building when it is safe for staff members and patrons.  Staff members are also working on various reopening scenarios and we will post updates as plans come together.

Thank you for your continued support during this challenging time!

Updated May 15, 2020

Curbside Pickup starts today!  It's easy - reserve items from our collection, schedule a pickup appointment, let us know you've arrived, and pickup your items!  Find all the details here and FAQs here.  At this time, Curbside Pickup is for patrons who have items on hold and have contacted the Library to make an appointment.  Our building remains closed, as do our book returns.  All due dates have been extended and fines will not be charged while our building is closed.  We hope to see you at Curbside Pickup soon!

Updated April 30, 2020

With the extension of the Governor's stay at home order, the Library building remains closed.  We continue to serve the community through our eBooks & More, databases, and online programs.  If you do not have a Library card, you can learn more about our eCard program here.

For the safety of our patrons and staff, Library programs and meeting room bookings are now canceled through June 30, 2020.  Also, Library card expiration dates have been extended through June 10 so you can continue to use our eResources while the Library building is closed.  Due dates for items that are checked out have been extended into mid-June.  Please check your account for the exact date.  We will continue to make adjustments in response to the COVID-19 situation as needed and give updates here, so please check back.

Updated April 6, 2020

For the safety of our patrons and staff, Library programs and meeting room bookings are canceled through May 15, 2020.  Also, if your Library card expires in April, the expiration date has been set to April 30 so you can continue to use our eResources while the Library is closed.  We will continue to make adjustments in response to the COVID-19 situation as needed and give updates here, so please check back.

Updated March 20, 2020

The Library is closed until further notice due to the Governor's Executive Order to Stay at Home.  Please continue to check this page and our social media for further updates.

We hope that you are taking advantage with the many digital collections the Library offers.  If you have any questions about any of our digital resources, please complete a Ask a Librarian form and a staff member will get back to you as soon as possible.  

Updated March 15, 2020

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community, The Urbana Free Library (TUFL) is temporarily closed to the public through Monday, March 30. We plan to reopen and resume normal services on Tuesday, March 31. All programming, outreach, and meeting room bookings have been canceled through April 12. We will continue to monitor the fluid situation and will reassess as new information becomes available. Closing the library for an extended period to “flatten the curve,” is a difficult decision, but the health and safety of our community and staff are our first priority. We apologize for any inconvenience. According to the CDC, early actions to increase social distancing are the best way to contain COVID-19. According to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, the “overriding goal in our community will be to keep the healthcare system, and especially the hospitals, from becoming overwhelmed during local spread.”

Primary Election:

The Urbana Free Library will serve as a polling place for the primary election this Tuesday, March 17, but no library services will be available.  There will be a slight change regarding access to The Urbana Free Library. Please use the ramp on the Elm Street (north) side of the building to access The Lewis Auditorium for voting. There will be signage directing voters to the proper door to enter and exit for polling purposes. Hours for the polling place will remain unchanged. Voters can park on Elm Street (north side of the Library) for easy access or can park in the parking lot immediately south of the Library and walk around the building.

Using the Library:

  • Due dates for all materials in the collection are extended to different dates in early May. Drop boxes for materials are closed, so please don’t return anything – just stay home and enjoy your materials longer!
  • Your holds will be waiting for you on the hold shelves when we reopen. You are still able to place requests, and we will begin filling them when we reopen.
  • We are committed to proving access to diverse resources and programs. Online services are available with your library card and PIN number.
  • Download our app by searching Urbana Free in your app store or visit our Databases page.
  • Using our eBooks & More page, you can download an eBook, graphic novel, or audiobooks, plus stream films, TV shows, and music for all ages.
  • Request a Personalized Reading List, and we will send you one as soon as we can.
  • Please stay tuned to urbanafreelibrary.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

We are in regular communication with staff and all TUFL staff will continue to be paid during this time. You can contact us via email, and we will reply as soon as we can.

Please continue to check this page for updates:  https://urbanafreelibrary.org/eresources/covid-19-resource-page

We look forward to hearing from you and then seeing you in person soon!

Temporary Closure:  In the interest of public health, the Urbana Free Library will temporarily close on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15.  This decision was not made lightly and follows the Governor's recommendation to utilize social distance as a tactic to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Please check our website and social media for information about possible changes to our schedule next week.  Download the Library's app for continued access to digital content.

Updated March 13, 2020:  Due dates for all items currently checked out have been extended to the first week of May.  Please check your account for the new dates.  These extended due dates will allow anyone who is sick or taking extra precautions to keep their items longer and not worry about having to return them to the Library.

Updated March 12, 2020

Dear patrons,

The safety of our patrons and employees is a priority to The Urbana Free Library.  We are working to stay on top of this evolving COVID-19 situation following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Our current plan is to:  1) prioritize the safety and health of our staff and patrons; 2) continue serving your library needs for the time being; and 3) plan ahead for changing circumstances.

In the interest of public health and effective immediately, all Library events are canceled through April 12, 2020. Room reservations, meeting room bookings, library outreach, and partnership programs are also canceled for now. We will work on rescheduling events at a later date, especially The Friends of The Urbana Free Library Book Sale.

We are working to ensure that all items currently checked out will be due at a later date. Please check your account if you have questions about this.

As of right now, the Urbana Free Library is still a polling place for the election March 17, 2020.

Until further notice, The Urbana Free Library will remain open to the public with normal hours of operation. TUFL is taking these steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please watch this page for updates.

Below is a curated list of sources for patrons to obtain reliable COVID-19 information.

How we are responding:

  • Library cleaning:  Surfaces are wiped down with disinfectant three times a day.  Wipes are available at service desks if patrons want to wipe down computers or other equipment they plan to use.  We are not currently disinfecting materials in the collection due to limited resources and supplies.

In addition, we have removed all toys from the Children’s Area of the Library as these items are difficult to disinfect quickly and are passed between patrons frequently.

  • Staff and patron hygiene:  Wipes are available to staff and patrons to wipe down surfaces and we encourage frequent hand-washing by everyone.
  • Library services:  We are developing staffing and service models should we need to reduce or modify services.

How patrons can help:

  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cough into your elbow if you are sick.

Next steps:

We are monitoring the situation closely, staying up-to-date on information from federal agencies, health organizations, and other experts.  We will post more information when changes occur.

In the meantime, as a reminder, the Library has  many digital services available to you for free, such as ebooks and e-audiobooks and streaming movies via Hoopla or Kanopy (click here for more info) and online databases (click here for more info).  Also download our app by searching Urbana Free in your app store.

Thank you for working to keep TUFL a healthy environment.

Celeste Choate
Executive Director
cchoate@urbanafree.org