Skip navigation
Milwaukee Public Library Hours & Locations Close

Central

Central
 

Every day thousands of people of all ages visit the Central Library.

They conduct research for work and school, browse the shelves for classics and bestsellers, and use computers to access information from the other side of town and the other side of the world—all with the assistance of knowledgeable and helpful staff.

The vast collections of the Central Library are used not only by the downtown population, but by the whole city and the greater Milwaukee area. Central Library also serves as a resource library for the state.

In addition, Central Library is the administrative headquarters for the Milwaukee Public Library system. This system also meets the needs of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods through 12 branch libraries and the community outreach van.

The Milwaukee Public Library collection includes more than 2.7 million books and other materials such as magazines, newspapers, records, cassettes, compact disks and videos as well as more than 1.5 million government documents. The library system also provides customers with access to information through a wide array of computer resources. See a floor map of the Central Library.

Tour Historic Central Library

Public tours are not yet available. Please watch for further information.  The rotunda is now open to the public. Reservations are required for group gatherings the same as other meeting spaces in the library.

Both Milwaukee visitors and area residents interested in a taste of Milwaukee's culture are invited to tour the past and present glory of the Central Library with the Friends of Milwaukee Public Library. 

The Milwaukee Public Library was founded in 1878. After several moves, the Central Library was built in response to the need for more spacious quarters. It opened its doors to the public on October 3, 1898.

The original structure is a combination of French and Italian Renaissance styles built of Bedford limestone. Several additions help make up the block-long building that stands today. Central Library has been designated a landmark by the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Read more about the Central Library.


Upcoming Events at Central

Aug 10
Green Roof Tour
12:30 PM

FREE Green Roof Tours of Milwaukee Public Library's Central Library are…

Aug 11
Family Story Time
10:30 AM

Young children and their caregivers are invited to story time…

Aug 13
Green Roof Tour
1:30 PM

FREE Green Roof Tours of Milwaukee Public Library's Central Library are…

Aug 15
Small Business Success Stories: Dream Too Big Blanks & Creations
6:00 PM

Jazmine Blakley of Dream Too Big Blanks & Creations, a design…