Best bookstore: Jane Addams Book Shop

By Faith Allendorf, Managing Editor for Reporting

Big bookstores like Barnes & Noble never feel as personal as the ones that are independently and locally owned. 

But inside of Jane Addams Book Shop on North Neil Street in downtown Champaign, “personal” is just one word to describe the cozy, warm and inviting atmosphere.

Jane Addams Book Shop, founded in Champaign-Urbana in 1984, is a three-story, 15-room shop that has a wide assortment of books for everyone of all ages and interests. With over 70,000 titles in the shop, there are novels ranging from agricultural guides to classic thrillers and so much more.

Susan Elmore, owner of Jane Addams, said she is grateful for the love that the Champaign-Urbana community has given to her store over the past four decades. 

“We’re just so appreciative of our community, and we continue to be supported by them,” she said. “We just love being able to be here for them to support them back with books.”

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Jane Addams also offers online shopping as well as in-store or curbside pickup. Books can also be shipped. 

All of the books in the shop are used, and when someone brings books into the store, they will receive store credit. The books that are not needed are donated to local charities. 

Elmore said that she has always believed in the power of books. She described them as “everything.”

“They are information — they hold thoughts, and they hold opinions,” she said. “Anything you can think of is probable in a book. They are there for everything.”