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Milwaukee Public Library Hours & Locations


The Rare Books Collection

The Milwaukee Public Library’s rarities collection gathers, preserves, and provides access to significant materials of historic and aesthetic value for the people of the City of Milwaukee and future generations of residents.  Through the rarities collection, the Library acts to preserve Milwaukee’s intellectual heritage and to preserve the collective memory of its cultures.  

Although broad in scope, the collection has certain strengths that are developed as the opportunity arises: 

  • Natural History, especially ornithology
  • Bibles and early religious materials
  • Native Americans, especially tribes native to Wisconsin
  • Local History
  • Milwaukee advertising
  • Book arts and alternative publications

Using the Collection

Materials from the rare books collection do not circulate, and the stacks are closed to the public, however all materials are accessible for viewing or research upon request.  Call the Art, Music, and Recreation department at 414-286-3071 to request an item. The materials in rarities may be searched by using the library’s catalog. Annual completion of a Special Collections Use form is required and will be kept on file in the art department.

Online Collections

Three collections from the rare books collection are available for viewing online.

Dr. James Cameron Pamphlet Collection

Milwaukee Historic Trade Card Collection

Wisconsin Concert Poster Collection

Upcoming Rare Books Events

March 6, 2017
6:00 PM
Meet the Author: Kathy Giorgio inside the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room at Central

Meet award-winning author Kathie Giorgio as she shares stories from…

March 27, 2017
6:00 PM
Playing Through the Fence with author Mary Dowell inside the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room at Central

Playing Through the Fence is part memoir, part self-help for emerging…