Reciprocal Borrowers

The Urbana Free Library (UFL) is a member of the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) and welcomes patrons who have valid cards from public libraries throughout Illinois.

Q: Can I use my home library card to check out at UFL?

A: Yes, but you will have two separate accounts—one for CU Catalog, the shared catalog of the Champaign and Urbana public libraries, and one for your home library’s catalog. To register, bring your unexpired home library card and photo ID to the circulation desk. Your CU Catalog account will expire when your home library card expires.

Q: How do I renew items?

A:  Most UFL items renew automatically up to 10 times, except in the following circumstances: overdue items, items that have requests, items with loan periods less than three days, rental items, interlibrary loan items, or e-items. When a patron has a long-overdue item, other items checked out to them will not auto-renew.
You also may access your account in CU Catalog, stop by the circulation desk or a self-check, or call 217-367-4057. Items checked out at libraries other than the Champaign and Urbana public libraries must be renewed separately through those libraries.

Q: Will I receive notices about holds, due dates, and overdue items?

A: You may choose to receive your library notices by email or text message, but your carrier’s standard message and data rates may apply. Without an email address or cell phone, you will not receive notices. Failure to receive these courtesy notices does not excuse late fees or charges.

Q: Where do I pay my late fees?

A: You may pay late fees and charges for all items from the Champaign and Urbana public libraries at UFL or Champaign Public Library (CPL). Late fees for items checked out from other libraries must be paid at those libraries.

Q: Where do I return library materials?

A: We recommend that you return items where they were checked out. UFL is not able to check in items from libraries other than the Champaign and Urbana public libraries. Similarly, other libraries also are not able to check in Champaign or Urbana materials.

Q: How can I request items?

A: You may request items through CU Catalog. Go to and select “Search the Library Catalog.” If you have registered to receive email or text message notices, you will be notified when materials are available. Or, you can check your account online at any time. You also can request items through the Library’s app (search “Urbana Free” in your app store). To request materials not available in CU Catalog, place a request through your home library.

Q: Is there a limit to how many items I can check out?

A: Most quantity limits are the same as those for other UFL cardholders. New and bestseller books are limited to 20, with a total limit of 100 UFL items.

Q: Do the Champaign-Urbana public libraries have different policies?

A: Yes. Quantity limits on checkout, hold requests, late fees, and other policies may differ. Although UFL and CPL are partners in CU Catalog, they remain independent libraries with separate governing boards.