What do free comics, watercolor painting, and a Summer Reading kickoff party have in common? Your library!

May 2023 | News

library logo

What do free comics, watercolor painting, and a Summer Reading kickoff party have in common? Your library!

smiling bee illustration, reading a book

SUMMER IS A GREAT TIME to celebrate a love for reading. Kids, teens, and adults will win prize books and more with the library’s Bee Creative! Summer Reading Challenge (May 15–Aug 15). Prizes include pool passes, rainbow popper bracelets, cool tumblers, coupons to area eateries, and even themed gift baskets for adults, with swag from local businesses. Sign up online or download the Beanstack app to get started!  


Summer Reading Kickoff Party!

Sun., May 21, from 12–3 pm | YOU’RE INVITED to an all-ages community celebration to kick off the Bee Creative! Summer Reading Challenge (May 15–Aug 15). Enjoy live music on the front porch—including indie rock band, Retro Via (12–1 pm) and Afro D & Global Soundwaves, a hip hop/jazz/funk band (1:45–3 pm). You’ll get to try watercolor painting, play giant Jenga, and take home fun giveaways. Our special guests will be Mother Goose and Pete the Cat!

smiling group of musicians holding band instruments, lead is a trumpet
5 serious guys, some have hats, groovy soundwave graphic behind

Local bands Afro D & Global Soundwaves (top) and Retro Via (below) will be performing at the kickoff party on May 21.

Friday, Night Jam Sessions, illustration of hand holding colorful microphone

Summer Sessions Outside in the Park for Friday Night Jams

Fri., May 26, from 6–8 pm | Douglass Branch | ARE YOU A PERFORMING ARTIST? We want to give you the chance to shine. Just bring your talent, materials, and instruments—we’re going to JAM!

We meet fourth Fridays, after hours at the Douglass Branch Library. You’ll have a chance to connect with other performers and try something new. Open to instrumentalists, singers, producers, DJs, and spoken word artists. No required scores, cadences, or lyrics. Starting this month, we will meet outside in Douglass Park when the weather is welcoming.


 >> Sign up to perform—or just drop by to listen!


Made possible with support from the Champaign County Community Coalition, Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, and the Champaign County Mental Health Board.

Free Comic Book Day, Kaboom! comics graphic

Sat., May 6, from 10 am–1 pm
Main Library & Douglass Branch


IT’S A SUPER DAY for free comic books! Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with crafting, a fun photo booth, and a virtual visit with comics writer Stephanie Williams—author of Wakanda and Nubia: Queen of the Amazons. Stop by the Main Library (10 am–1 pm) to make a comic-themed tote or Spider-hero mask, grab a few comics, and stay for a comic industry speaker. We will have a photo booth for your superhero or villain needs, so costumes are encouraged!


>> Watch the live braodcast of our Virtual Visit with Stephanie Williams (10 am)

>> Stop by the Douglass Branch for more free comics and fun crafts!

man in striped shirt smiling with a jumble of books in his arms

LIKE GARDENING? Stop by two Tuesdays in May at 10 am for coffee, socializing, and a chance to learn something new from gardening aficionados, including the C-U Herb Society (May 2, Herb Lore) and St. Louis–based Marcella Hawley (May 9, Therapeutic Gardening).

man in striped shirt smiling with a jumble of books in his arms

Sat., May 27, at 11 am, 1 pm, & 3 pm | LAUGH OUT LOUD as nationally known family entertainer Chris Fascione brings children’s stories to life with high-spirited energy and humor. Chris creates colorful characters through his winning combination of acting, comedy, mime, juggling, and audience participation. Three show times to choose from!

notebook, pencil, glasses, plant on yellow table, Writer's Workshop text

Writer’s Workshops

ENJOY WRITING? Hone your skills and connect with other writers at the library. This month local author John Milas will share his expertise on Publishing Fiction in Literary Magazines (May 3). Milas’s debut novel, The Militia House (Henry Holt), will be released this summer. Stop by May 17 at 7 pm for our next Writer’s Lounge. Hope to see you there!

Tech Workshops

TECH QUESTIONS? Our Getting Started workshops introduce computers, tablets, and more. May includes an Intro to Keyboard and Mouse Skills (May 15), plus workshops on how to use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. Sign up online or give us a call at 217/403-2000. We are happy to help!

group of professionals in suits and blouses, standing and chatting

Business & Career Workshops, Networking Opportunties

LOOKING FOR A JOB or launching a business? We can help! Find out tips for effective (and fun!) networking at this month’s Networking 101 workshop (May 2), then stop by to practice and get a backstage tour of the library at Let’s Network | Community Meetup & Library Tour (May 11). This month’s presenters include David Gray, president of McKinley Toastmasters (May 23), and Madeleine Wolske, director of the Small Business Development Center (May 25).

Career Workshops »
5/2 · Career & Job Help | Drop-in Hours, 11 am – 1 pm
5/2 · Networking 101, 6:30 pm
5/11 · Let’s Network! | Community Meetup & Library Tour, 6:30 pm

Business Workshops »
5/2 · Networking 101, 6:30 pm
5/3 · VIRTUAL: How to Respond to Online Reviews, 10 am
5/11 · Let’s Network! | Community Meetup & Library Tour, 6:30 pm
5/23 ·  The Critical Leadership Skill, 7 pm
5/25 · VIRTUAL: Website Design Basics, 10 am
5/25 · Navigating Entrepreneurship, 12 pm

Open Wednesday–Saturday, 12–3 pm

illustration of fox hanging from umbrella, bird, bookstore event details

DURING MAY, save 50% off children’s and teen books at the FriendShop Bookstore (elevator to lower level). Most items are $2 or less—and children’s items are priced at only 50¢. The store is staffed by volunteers, so every purchase directly benefits the library. Now open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12 to 3 pm!

May Sales & Special Sunday Hours

5/7 · Special Sunday Hours, 2–5 pm
5/10–13 · Half-Price Sale for Members
5/21 · Special Sunday Hours, 12–3 pm
5/24–27 · Tag Bag Sale

The Studio Expansion Project

THE LIBRARY is expanding, building an 8,000 sq. ft. space on the lower level, called The Studio. The design includes a makerspace, computer lab, gaming area, and recording studios. This innovative area will be utilized for library programs, including hosting teens after school, and is scheduled for completion this summer. Sketches and project updates »

The Studio logo

May 2023

Event Calendar


portrait of Stephanie WIlliams

Virtual Visit with Comics Writer Stephanie Williams
Sat., May 6, at 10 am
Main Library
>> Also broadcast live via Facebook and YouTube

Free Comic Book Day!
Sat., May 6,  from 10 am–1 pm

*Free comics
*Make & Take superhero-themed crafts
*Costumes are welcome!
@ Main Library & Douglass Branch

smiling dad holding up young artist to point at her artwork on the wall at the library

Opening Reception for “The Art Connection”
Sun., May 7, at 3 pm
Artwork by 40+ students:
• Booker T. Washington STEM Academy
• Centennial High School
• Central High School
FriendShop Bookstore
Lower level, Main Library

Bingo Blast
Sun., May 14, from 2–4 pm

Bee Creative! Summer Reading Kickoff Party
Sun., May 21, from 12–3 pm
*Live music
*Make & Take watercolor painting for all ages

*Giant games
*Fun giveaways


watercolor painting of flower arrangement on paper, detail

Crafty Adults: Watercolor Painting with Joan Jach
Wed., May 10, at 6 pm

Sign up starting May 1  »

(30 participants)

Coffee and a Craft: Quilled Paper Flower Frame
Thu., May 11, at 2 pm
@ Douglass Branch

coins in increasing piles with green sprouts emerging

Money Matter$ | Common Cents for Raising Financially Responsible Children
with Carrie Eisenmenger
Thu., May 18, at 7 pm

Event details »

Project READ Tutoring
Fridays, May 5, 12, 19, 26
Drop in 9:30–11:30 am


Tutor Training for Project READ 
Fri., May 26, at 10 am
Sign up with Project READ »

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 to write a screenplay, create an edible garden, or brush up on your French—there’s something for everyone. Sessions run six weeks and are taught by college instructors. Gale Courses start May 17, June 14, & July 12 »


Table Talk Book Club
Tue., May 9, at 6:30 pm

Meet to select books for the next season.

Demon Copperhead book cover

Cover-to-Cover Book Club: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver 
Thu., May 11, at 1:30 pm

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

STOP BY after school to enjoy Teen Lounge at the Main Library. Offered every day after school from 3 to 4:30 pm. On early dismissal days (May 1 & 15), Teen Lounge meets from 1 to 4:30 pm. Last meeting on May 25.


Sat., May 13, at 3 pm
For age 4+

Family Fun Night
Thursdays at 6:30 pm
For school-age kids

5/4 · Star Wars!

5/11 · Greyt Readers

5/18 · Watercolor Art

DIY Kids
Wednesdays at 4 pm
@ Douglass Branch

5/3 · Slime Time
5/10 · Tech Toys
5/17 · Geoboard Creations
5/24 · Minute to Win It Games
5/31 · Felt Octopus


10 Storytimes Every Week!
For infants to age 5

two kids on curving balance beam, Sensory Friendly Storytime title

Sensory-Friendly Storytime
Tue., May 16, at 6:30 pm
Songs, sensory play, and socialization. Youth Social Story to help prepare »

New Releases button

DID YOU KNOW? New Releases hit the library shelves every week on Tuesday morning. Reserve your copy now or give us a call at 217/403-2000. We’ll let you know when your hold items are ready for pickup!


Both locations will be closed on Monday, May 29. Book returns are always open.


painted squares, art supplies, on table

1,000+ Crafting Classes to Try!

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

Get started with Creativebug »

Above: Creativebug instructor Risa Iwasaki Culbertson is based in San Francisco. She teaches Procreate 101 and Push Your Creative Boundaries: 31 Mixed Media Explorations.

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–Sat 12–3

Library logo
facebook social icon
twitter social icon
instagram social icon
youtube social icon
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Prefer not to receive this email? Update your preferences