The Center Street Library has something in common with many of the other branches of MPL that I hadn’t really noticed till now – like Tippecanoe, Martin Luther King, Washington Park, and Zablocki – the library is located near a busy intersection – easy to reach, and accessible by public transport. I suppose this is one of the very thoughtful things that has to go into planning a library system – it can’t only be filled with tons of resources, but it has to be accessible to those who would want to make use of it. Good work, MPL!
The Center Street Library entrance has an “African-American Hall of Fame” mural painted above the doors, along with a key to all the figures lower, so you can know what great folks are up there – very cool! The library also has lot of windows, and near the center, has a high-ceilinged skylight, bringing soft light into the area. The library has a large children’s area – decorated with a floor-to-ceiling mural on one end, and tables at the other end for their “Teacher In the Library” studying assistance that happens four afternoons/week. There are two other things that really make Center Street stand out – the large number of computers that the library has for public use, and the amount of hours each week that a job trainer specialist is on-hand to assist people in filling out job applications, writing a resume, setting up an email account, and searching job listings. As the Center Street Library is located in an area of Milwaukee with an elevated poverty rate, those two features are very important, again demonstrating how the MPL system does more than just check out books, DVDs, and audio CDs. The presence of a library in a neighborhood can be a valuable tool in fighting poverty and unemployment.