Need to feed the voracious readers in your home? Here are some ideas.
With Champaign-Urbana area libraries closed for the foreseeable future — at least through June 1 — many families are wondering: How do I keep my kids reading books, without spending a fortune?
Even in times when school is in session, one of the things that keeps my kids sane and learning is reading. In the last several weeks we’ve realized just how much the library is part of what keeps our family churning.
But until we can get back there, we’re being as creative as possible to fill the book void in our life.
Our primary focus of this article is how to get *PRINTED* books, here in Champaign-Urbana and beyond.
We have awesome online ways to get books, too. Click over here for how to utilize Champaign Public Library and Urbana Free Library books and other resources virtually. Don’t overlook these digital resources!
Below we offer some suggestions to get printed books for free and/or cheaper than buying new online. Most of these are able to be picked up in a timely manner, locally, as well.
PLEASE NOTE: BE SAFE. When receiving books, experts recommend that you wait at least 24 hours before touching them. Evidence shows that the virus can stick to hard surfaces, such as cardboard, for 24 hours. There is not enough evidence to firmly indicate if the virus can or cannot be transmitted via books.
How to get books for free:
- Check out Little Free Libraries.
If you’re not familiar with LFF, these are those little boxes that kind of look like mini treehouses that have popped up in neighborhoods all over the community. Some Little Free Libraries may be closed right now, but others are thriving as ways communities can share resources — and in some cases, puzzles and other materials beyond books.This map identifies many of the Champaign-Urbana area Little Free Libraries, but not all. (If you have a Little Free Library that’s open, let us know and we’ll list it here). LFF exists on the “leave a penny, take a penny” premise — if you have something to leave, that’s great. If you need to take, go ahead.
- Swap books with friends.
Many families might be looking for specific books, if you have readers like mine. We’ve heard of families swapping out bags of books as surprises. Exchange info, to get age appropriate books. Get creative! Tip: remember to put your contact information in any book you hope to get returned. One way to do this is to use those free address labels you’ve been sent many times.
- Request books on sites like C-U Swap on Facebook.
We’ve seen Champaign-Urbana area friends swapping books or fulfilling requests for gently used books on Facebook in the C-U Swap page, which is designed to be a free resource.
Where to find cheap books in Champaign-Urbana
- Some used books are available at Salt & Light in Urbana for resale. (Philo Road location).
- The Dollar Tree has a limited section of books and workbooks.
- Buy from Jane Addams Book Shoppe in downtown Champaign
Jane Addams has all of its book catalog online. We “walked” through the pretty extensive young adult section today and ordered a bunch of books, most priced around $3-5 apiece, although some are more expensive. Curbside pickup is offered Monday through Saturday. Here’s another way to offset what you pay for books and get more for your money: Jane Addams takes in your gently used books to re-sell! Drop off books between 1-4 p.m. Monday thru Saturday (They will donate books they can’t use). They are also disinfecting books, more here:
- Shop at Orphans Treasure Box online
Orphans Treasure Box is located in Champaign, and has books available for sale. Delivery is free with a $10 purchase; books are shipped. Prices average around $3 per book. Proceeds go to charities that support orphans and vulnerable children locally and abroad. Children’s books are available.
- Other online resellers: Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, Varagesale, etc. We’ve seen locals post children’s books (and other books) on Facebook marketplace. Just be safe!
Other learning and fun resources:
WILL TV Updates Educational Programming | Where to Get Outside without Playgrounds
300+ Learning Resources | Good Night Chambana: Bedtime Stories That Keep Us Together. | Teachers Stay Connected to Students