Central Library Betty Brinn Children’s Room
Betty Brinn Children's Room hallway entrance
View of Betty Brinn Children's Room from just inside the room's entrance
West from 1st floor main street area towards 9th street, passing through the Gray Rotunda, we head into the Central Library Betty Brinn Children’s Room. This west wing was part of the original building and was a Museum space until they left in the 1960s. Originally this space was the North American Indian Hall. The most recent renovation was in the late 1990s when the library created the Central Library Betty Brinn Children’s Room, which opened in June 1998. At the time it opened, it was the largest public library children’s room in Wisconsin. The floor and lighting fixtures were designed by local children’s author Lois Ehlert. The floor is made of authentic linoleum from Germany. The lighthouse is modeled after the North Point Lighthouse, a 19th-century lighthouse in Lake Park. Kids can climb to the top to get the best view of the room! Additionally, the decorative plaster work by local artist Julian Orlandini included a few surprises for visitors to find. Near the top of the columns at the entrance he replaced the traditional medallions with mice. Can you find them? At the far south side of the room the Hans Christian Anderson window, a gift to MPL in 1903, can be found, with more information here.
Between the Museum’s relocation in the 1960s and the 1990s renovation into today’s Children’s Room, this space was used by three other City departments or organizations: the City of Milwaukee’s Model Cities Department (1971-1974); the City of Milwaukee’s Municipal Court (1975- 1983); and, finally, Discovery World science and technology museum, which occupied both the 1st and 2nd floor of this west wing from 1984-1996.
Next stop: Gray Rotunda
Previous stop: Schoenleber Reading Room