Exploring the Historic Milwaukee Central Library

Loving the Library

When I got back to Milwaukee from New York, I began nannying for a new family downtown. They only needed someone for 3 months and I’d only planned to be there for 3 months. Once again, good looking out universe. I now was in charge of entertaining 2 little boys, two and three. Luckily they like to read as much as I do, so I started planning weekly trips to the Milwaukee Central Public Library.

Photo courtesy of Bill Russ – 814 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI


I love the ceiling of the rotunda. Definitely not your average library.

One of my favorite places in Milwaukee is the historic library. The architecture is beautiful, built of Bedford limestone in the style of French and Italian Renaissance structures. It’s filled with large Corinthian columns, stained glass lighting fixtures, and grand staircases throughout. I feel like this was the Beast’s library in his castle that Belle fell in love with. (she’s my fave Disney princess, by the way) It really is more of a museum that functions as a library. There’s even a rare books room that holds collections from as far back as the 15th century! If you care to learn more about this library’s place in history, there are free tours every Saturday at 11:00 am.

Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card

Since I would be staying awhile and my license was issued in Wisconsin, I decided to get a card. I mean technically I’m a resident, right? I haven’t had a library card since I was a kid. I felt so much joy leaving with books in my backpack that day. Plus I was back home in order to save money for my new traveling lifestyle. I wouldn’t have to spend money on books for a few months. Amazon would definitely miss me.

I was able to grab three books on my summer reading list. Can’t wait to dive in. 

If you’re a Milwaukee resident, the Central Library should be a resource you’re tapping into. It’s huge and there are always events, including weekly storytimes for the kiddies. They have a media center with laptops available for checkout, tons of movies and music, a used bookstore with all of the libraries unshelved books (kids get a free book every time they come in), and the ambiance is great for studying or curling up with a good book. The children’s section is equipped with desktops only for their use, every animal puppet you could dream of, and a play area with a lighthouse for climbing. 

If you’re not a Milwaukee resident, I strongly recommend you get a library card and frequent your local library. It’s cost effective (’cause free, duh) and reading is great self-care!

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