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Schoenleber Reading Room

Schoenleber Reading Room

Schoenleber Reading Room entrance

Schoenleber Reading Room entrance

North from the 1st floor main street area towards Wells St brings us into the Schoenleber Reading Room that holds our main circulating/browsable book collection. With a few exceptions, all the books/materials on the 1st floor are circulating, meaning they can be checked out by patrons. As you enter the room on your left (west) is our Information Desk, the main 1st floor reference access point. It was previously known as the Catalog Information desk, and it was just one of many spaces where the old card catalogs lived for most of the 20th century,  until MPL unveiled its online library catalog (CountyCat) in 1995.  This space was renovated from 1995 to 1996 to achieve its current set up.

4th addition overview

4th addition overview

This entire north end of the building was part of the 4th addition that happened from 1954-1957 and it was entirely for the Library. It was designed by the architects Grassold & Johnson. It included 2 public floors (this space and the one above it) and 4 basement storage levels below ground; these levels are called tier storage and are named 1T (the lowest level) up to 4T (the level right under the first floor). The ground breaking was June 10, 1954 and by December 1955 books were being moved into the new space. The official ribbon cutting ceremony with Milwaukee Mayor Frank Zeidler happened May 17, 1956. Today, there are well over half a million items stored on the tiers. Other big changes with this addition were the escalator on the south end of 1st floor main street, which was completed in 1955, and the Drive-Up window (on the east side of the building on 8th Street), which was constructed in 1955-1956 but not opened for service until 1966 due to staffing issues.  The Drive Up’s official grand opening was May 9, 1966 and Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier was its first patron. It was then renovated again in 2010.

Central Library Drive Up

Central Library Drive Up, circa 1966

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