Central Library Tours

Behind The Scenes Tour of Central Library

Meet with Antoine Carter, Director of Philanthropy, and tour the Historic Central Library branch to learn more about how the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation supports the mission of the Milwaukee Public Library.


An Architectural Jewel

An architectural and historical jewel, the Central Library is the community gathering place for learning, reading, exploring, connection, and contemplation. It opened its doors to the public on October 3rd, 1898, and for more than 120 years, has remained the city’s most welcoming destination for cultural and scholarly enrichment.

Showcasing detailed craftsmanship, ornate decoration, and fascinating special features, the must-see Central Library is now designated a historic landmark by the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Milwaukee architects Ferry and Clas with a combination of French and Italian Renaissance styles, the building reflects both the Louvre Museum in Paris and the library of the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Several additions over the past century helped make up the square-block building that stands at 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue today. The most recent addition to the building was completed in 1957 and included the grand staircase, two additional stories above and four levels below ground. A recently added feature to the building’s exterior is the breathtaking green roof featuring green infrastructure, an observation deck, native landscaping, solar panels, and a spectacular view of downtown.


Become a Docent!

If you are a library enthusiast, consider becoming a docent at Milwaukee's historic Central Library.

Support Your Community

Our Milwaukee Public Libraries inspire imagination, strengthen neighborhoods, open opportunities, and nurture lifelong learning.

Your support makes it all possible.