The historic Central Library welcomes more than two million visitors a year and is the cornerstone of the Milwaukee Public Library System. An official Milwaukee Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the original 1898 building was designed by architects Ferry & Clas in the Beaux Arts style. It features a spectacular rotunda dome and mosaic floor and interior highlights in oak, mahogany, and marble.
The Betty Brinn Children’s Room is home to the largest circulating collection of children’s books in Wisconsin. Children also have access to 30 computers, a puppet theater, and can take the stairs into their own library lighthouse for a bird’s eye view of the room.
Central Library also houses the Great Lakes Marine Collection, the City of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Architectural Archives, and the Milwaukee Road Archives as well as the Local History Manuscript Collection, poster and sheet music collections, and historic photo archives.
The Milwaukee Public Library’s rarities collection features materials of local as well as national interest. Select items are on display throughout the year, and some may be viewed by appointment.
The Business Commons is a collaborative space for everyone to learn, explore, and grow in life. The space is open for networking and collaboration opportunities with the flexibility of working outside traditional study or office spaces.
Free tours of the library begin at 11 a.m. each Saturday morning in the rotunda. Tours are also available by appointment by calling (414) 286-TOUR.
Tours of the Central Library Green Roof are offered Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 1:30 p.m., August through October.