Central Library

CentralLib
  • 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue (accessible entry at 813 N. 8th St.)
  • http://www.mpl.org
  • Hours
  • Saturday: 10am-5pm
  • Last admittance to building: Last tour at 4:15pm
  • Sunday: NOT OPEN
  • Architect and year: George Bowman Ferry & Alfred C. Clas 1895-98; further additions in 1909, 1913 and 1931; new addition on Wells St. in 1956, Herbert J. Grassold and Elmer A. Johnson
  • Photography permitted: yes Tripod: no
  • Filming permitted: no Tripod: no

The Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library opened in 1898 as a shared space with the Milwaukee Public Museum. Ferry and Clas Architects won the design competition and built a new-Renaissance style U-shaped building. The exterior of the building is Bedford limestone. Much of the intricate outside carving was done by craftsmen standing on scaffolding. Interior materials include mahogany and oak hardwoods, brass, Sienna marble, plaster, stucco, tesserae tile and scagliola. The most recent addition to the building was completed in 1957 and added two stories above and four levels below ground. The most recent added feature to the buildings exterior is a green roof with solar panels.

Visitors to the Central Library will have a variety of quick ten minute tours of areas normally hidden to the public, as well as self guided tour opportunities. Tours will be provided every quarter hour for the Dome, the Old Board Room, the 4th Floor, the third basement below grade, the green roof, the book shelving process and, new this year, the Centennial Hall complex with an entrance off of 8th Street. Self-guided tours will be available for the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room, the Chinese Room and the Children’s Room. The Dome tour is not handicapped accessible, all others are.

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