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Close All Milwaukee Public Library locations will be OPEN during the RNC, Monday, July 15-18, 2024

If you're heading to Central Library, please note that it's within the Vehicle Screening Perimeter. Visit the City's website for more info.

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Grand Staircase

Grand Staircase

Central Library grand staircase view from 2nd floor

Central Library grand staircase view from 2nd floor

The Grand Staircase, which connects the 1st and 2nd floor, has changed 3 times over the decades.  When the building opened in 1898 this area was the closed stack/book storage area with no publicly accessible staircase. Staff would pull the books from this storage area when they were requested in the Delivery Room by patrons. When the 4th addition was added, the building needed to create another way to access the 2nd floor so an escalator was installed in this space connecting the 2 floors. It was completed and opened in 1955. In 1990/1991 the escalator was removed and was replaced by a wooden staircase. About 10 years later, the wooden staircase was removed and the current marble staircase was installed. The installation began in 2000 and was officially opened February 11, 2001. The marble staircase is made of Ramon gold Jerusalem stone, quarried in Israel.  Among the balusters is one which was placed upside down. See if you can find it!

Central Library escalator, 1956

Central Library escalator, 1956

Central Library wooden grand staircase, 1990s

Central Library wooden grand staircase, 1990s

Central Library marble grand staircase, 2001-present

Central Library marble grand staircase, 2001-present

In the summer of 2023, a photo exhibit has been added of all of our past City Librarians/Library Directors since 1878.  The display is located in the arched area under the Grand Staircase.  Take a few steps north towards Main Street and you will find it.

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