What do neotropical frogs, a community job fair, and the Battle of the Books have in common? Your library!
February 2023 | News
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What do neotropical frogs, a community job fair, and the Battle of the Books have in common? Your library!


group of people representing variety of professions, smiling

Mon., Feb. 20, from 5:30–7:30 pm | NEW YEAR, NEW JOB? Stop by the Community Job Fair for an opportunity to meet with local employers, learn about career resources available at the library, and enter for the chance to win prizes, including a Chromebook. Participants include Parkland College, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Champaign Unit 4 School District, and more. Part of the Get that Job! series.


>> Which 30+ employers & job coaches will be there?

colorful photo of tropical frog with Family Fun Night text

Neotropical Frogs?! Wow!

Thu., Feb. 23, at 6:30 pm | WHAT BETTER WAY to chase winter away than to meet a host of amphibians from Central and South America? You’ll have a chance to learn about the intriguing behavior of neotropical frogs at Family Fun Night. Presented in partnership with the U of I Fischer Lab


2019 winners of Battle of the Books

18 Years of Celebrating Black History by Reading Great Books

Sat., Feb. 25, from 11 am–4 pm
| STUDENTS IN GRADES 3 to 5 will celebrate Black History Month by challenging their book knowledge in our 18th Battle of the Books. This year’s Battle of the Books list includes 20 Great Books Linked to Black History. Teams will compete at the main location in the morning (11 am) or afternoon (1:30 pm), with winners advancing to the finals (3 pm). Last presented in 2020, Battle of the Books draws as many as 500 kids, teachers, and family members. Call 217/403-2090 by February 3 to sign up your team.


Above: Dr. Howard Elementary School’s team took home the trophy in 2019.

Douglass Branch entrance, sculpture, at edge of park

Black History Month Spotlight: Douglass Branch 

DOUGLASS BRANCH LIBRARY will be a featured location on the new Champaign County African American Heritage Trail. This historic route traces 170 years of rich cultural history and building community. 


The Douglass Branch was named for American abolitionist and journalist Frederick Douglass, who escaped from slavery and became an influential statesman. He visited Champaign on February 15, 1869. The Champaign County Gazette reported that “His wit was keen and sparkling, his humor dry and effective, and his logic and argument as clear as that of the most polished orator in the land.” Illinois artist Preston Jackson’s sculpture “Frederick Douglass: In Remembrance” stands by the Branch entrance.


The dedicated and friendly staff at the Branch share more than 100 years of combined experience!

Tax Help, Form 1040, calculator, glasses, plant

Help with Your Taxes

LOOKING FOR free tax assistance? We can help! Sign up to meet with IRS-certified volunteers at the library (February 1–April 18). Contact Stevick Senior Center at 217/359-6500 to make an appointment. Presented in partnership with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program.

covered wagon on trail, rock formation, Tuesdays at Ten title

Tuesdays at Ten | Two Trails West | JOIN US for a five-week journey (2/7–3/7) led by local historian Fred Christensen as he takes us along the National Road and Oregon Trail. Each week will be a new topic related to the unique and historic trails that early pioneers traveled in covered wagons. Meets at the Main Library on Tuesdays at 10 am.

Writer's Workshop event info, man with beard po

Writer’s Workshops

LIKE TO WRITE? Hone your skills at one of our Writer’s Workshops at the Main Library. This month you can connect with other area writers at the Writers Lounge (2/1) or try Five Prompts to Jumpstart Your Writing (2/15) led by local poet Jim O’Brien. Find details about the Spring workshops on our website.

artwork by 3 students, collage, line drawing, painting of owl

Art Connection Exhibit & Opening Reception

Sun., Feb. 12, at 3 pm | CELEBRATE THE NEW EXHIBITION, “The Art Connection: Schools to Library,” with kids, teens, and art teachers from Barkstall Elementary, Centennial High, and Franklin STEAM Academy. This series showcases artwork by 100+ students from Champaign Unit 4 schools each year. For the opening reception in the FriendShop Bookstore, take the elevator to the lower level. The exhibit will be on view through May  in the FriendShop and the Children’s area on the first floor.

Above, from left: Artwork by Serena, Grade 9; Natan, Grade 6; and Ava, Grade 2.

Table Talk Book Club event information, with book covers

Discussing Books at the Douglass Branch…Since 2001!

TABLE TALK BOOK CLUB, based at the Douglass Branch, has been meeting monthly since 2001 to discuss books by contemporary African American authors. Table Talk has also hosted visits by #1 New York Times bestselling authors Terry McMillan and Colson Whitehead, as part of our Great Authors at the Library series. This month’s conversation on Tuesday, February 14, at 6:30 pm, will be about The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

Tech Workshops

TECH QUESTIONS? Our Getting Started workshops introduce computers, tablets, and more. February includes a chance to learn how to use a Keyboard & Mouse (2/7) and find out all about Windows Computers (2/14). Already use a laptop or Chromebook? You can also learn about effective strategies for Digital File Storage (2/28). Tech Workshops are offered Tuesdays at 2 pm, plus one Monday evening each month, at the main location. Sign up online or give us a call at 217/403-2000. We are happy to help!

Tax Basics for Business event info, portrait of Monica Beasley

Business & Career Workshops

LOOKING FOR A JOB or launching a business? We can help! This month’s presenters include marketing expert Scott Clanin (2/7 & 21), educator Melissa Iverson (2/15), and business owner Monica Beasley (2/28).

In addition, don’t miss the Community Job Fair (2/20) where you can talk to local career coaches and employers to help you land your next job!

Business Workshops »
2/7 · VIRTUAL: Google Business Profile, 10 am
2/15 · VIRTUAL: Board Bootcamp | Understanding Nonprofits in Central Illinois, 12 pm
2/21 · VIRTUAL: Social Media 101, 2 pm
2/28 · Tax Basics for Business, 7 pm

Career Workshops »
2/7 · Career Help | Drop-in Hours, 11 am – 1 pm
2/9 · Resume Basics, 6:30 pm
2/20 · Community Job Fair, 5:30–7:30 pm

illustration of fox trotting toward giant, colorful  heart on the horizon
FriendShop Bookstore Specials

DURING FEBRUARY, you’ll get 50% off romance at the FriendShop Bookstore. Open to everyone, the shop offers 20,000 used books, movies, and audiobooks, plus gift certificates. Most items are $2 or less!

And the best part? All the money you spend goes right back to the library since the items sold are donations and the store is staffed by volunteers. Joining the Library Friends is easy. We appreciate your support!

Open Wednesday, Friday, & Saturday, 12–3 pm
February 8, 10, 11  · Members’ Half-Price Sale
February 12 · Special Hours, open 2–5 pm
February 22, 24, 25 · Tag Bag Sale

Coming soon!

THE STUDIO EXPANSION PROJECT began in January and is scheduled for completion this summer. There’s a lot to look forward to! Sketches and project updates »

The Studio logo

February 2023

Black History Month title

BLACK HISTORY titles will be on display during February. See something you’d like to read? Reserve online or give us a call at 217/403-2000. 

>> 35 Books Celebrating Black Authors & Creators

Event Calendar
patterned paper journal, handmade

Crafty Adults: Handmade Scrapbook Journals 
Wed., Feb. 8, at 6 pm

Sign up starting February 1. (30 participants) Sign up »

Main Library

Coffee and a Craft: Soy Candles
Thu., Feb. 9, at 2 pm
Douglass Branch


C-U Connect: Schools & Parents Coming Together | Tips for Housing Searches
Thu., Feb. 16, at 6 pm
Douglass Branch


Money Matter$ | Budget Friendly Travel

Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 pm

Mark Wolters of Wolters World

Main Library


Tax Basics for Business 
Tue., Feb. 28, at 7 pm 

Main Library

illustration of hand holding colorful microphone

Friday Night Jam Session
Fri., Feb. 24, from 6–8 pm
Every fourth Friday

For adults & teens
Sign up to perform »

Douglass Branch

Project READ Tutoring
February 3, 10, 17, 24
Drop in 9:30–11:30 am

Main Library

man teaching in classroom, screenshot of start screen for video training

Gale Courses Start Monthly

NEW SESSIONS start each month for 375 online Gale Courses. Learn about nutrition, Speed Spanish, or starting your own business—there’s something for everyone. Sessions run six weeks and are taught by college instructors. Gale Courses start Feb. 15, Mar. 15, & Apr. 12 »


Ice Walker by James Raffan book cover

Cover-to-Cover Book Club: The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray
Thu., Feb. 9, at 1:30 pm

Main Library

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Table Talk Book Club: The Personal Librarian
by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
Tue., Feb. 14, at 6:30 pm
Douglass Branch

What Should My Book Club Read Next? We have 23 recommended reads available for your next get-together.
Teen Lounge title with colorful pattern behind text

LOOKING FOR something fun to do after school? Middle and high school students are invited to  stop by Teen Lounge. Offered every day after school from 3 to 4:30 pm. On early dismissal days (2/6 & 13), Teen Lounge meets from 1 to 4:30 pm.
Meets at Main Library.

Teen boy lying by a lake reading a book, Spring Reading Challenge for Teenstitle

SIGN UP for the ​Spring Reading Challenge—so you can read to win! 


Battle of the Books title with bright yellow circle behind

Black History Bingo | DIY Kids
Wed., Feb. 1, at 4 pm
Douglass Branch


Sat., Feb. 11, at 3 pm
Main Library

Opening Reception for “The Art Connection”
Sun., Feb. 12, at 3 pm
Elevator to lower level, FriendShop Bookstore

Main Library

Battle of the Books title with bright yellow circle behind

18th Annual
Battle of the Books

Sat., Feb. 25
11:00  Morning Playoffs
1:30  Afternoon Playoffs 3:00  Finals
Main Library

egg carton crafted into mancala game board

DIY Kids
Wednesdays at 4 pm
Douglass Branch

Activities include Black History Bingo, Tech Toys, Mancala Board, and 100 Penny Bridge Challenge.

Family Fun Night

STOP BY the Main Library on Thursdays at 6:30 pm for weekly games, crafts, STEAM activities, and more! Family Fun Night is designed especially for families with school-aged kids.

2/2 · Desk Pets
2/9 · Read to the Dogs: Greyt Readers
2/16 · Sock Hop!
2/23 · Neotropical Frogs

sloth illustration, holding book, reading log

Sign up for the Spring Reading Challenge for infants, kids, and teens!


10 Storytimes Every Week!
For infants to age 5

Make & Take for Preschoolers 
Thursdays at 10 am
Main Library

This Next New Year picture book cover

East Asian Bilingual Storytime
Sat., Feb. 11, at 10 am

Chinese & English

Main Library

Sensory-Friendly Storytime
Tue., Feb. 21, at 6:30 pm
Main Library

Mother Goose on the Loose Storytime
For infants to age 6. Meets at 11:15 am: 
2/22 · Main Library
2/27 · Douglass Branch

New Releases button
WHAT’S NEW? Reserve New Releases online or give us a call at 217/403-2000. We’ll let you know when your hold items are ready for pickup!


girl wearing a crocheted crown peeks out from branches, smiling
1,000+ Crafting Classes to Spark Your Creativity

LIKE CRAFTING? You’re going to love the content in our Creativebug collection. Sign in with your library to get started with Creativebug and explore 1,000+ free art and crafting classes taught by experts. Instructors include artists and creators like Twinkie Chan, Tracey Renee-Hubbard, and Yao Cheng. Try crocheting, drawing, sewing, or even cake decorating. Start anytime!

Get started with Creativebug »

P.S. Make to Give: Charitable Crafting (pictured above) is a beginner-level class.

Main Library
200 W. Green St.
Champaign, Illinois
Mon–Thu 9–9
Fri–Sat 9–6 | Sun 12–6

Douglass Branch
504 E. Grove St.
Champaign, Illinois
Mon–Thu 10–8
Fri 10–6 | Sat 10–4

FriendShop Bookstore
Elevator to lower level, Main Library
Wed, Fri, Sat 12–3
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Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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