By Patricia Swanson
For more than a century, Milwaukee Public Library and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee have shared a positive vision for Milwaukee by advancing initiatives that support the educational, socioeconomic, and personal enrichment for its citizens.
In 1905, Paul Harris established the first Rotary Club as a gathering place where people with diverse backgrounds could meet to exchange ideas. Similarly, since 1898, local residents looked to Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library as a welcoming gathering place for them to meet, create, inspire, collaborate, and learn.
Based on increased demand for free meeting spaces in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Public Library recently prioritized the renovation of an outdated meeting room in the Central Library – currently referred to as Community Room 1. The intent is to renovate this space and expand our ability to serve changing public space needs – while also contributing to the renaissance taking place in downtown Milwaukee.
Thanks to generous funding recently committed by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee Board of Directors, the library will issue an RFP in order to generate proposals from interested developers for the project. The redesign plans will include flexible furniture, new lighting, ceiling and floor upgrades, and 21st century technology capabilities design to create an environment worthy of the beautiful Central Library and our citizens who visit.
Three current views of the Community Room
Recently voted in the Top 3 Southeastern Wisconsin Top Attractions by the Milwaukee Business Journal, the Central Library has been selected as a destination venue for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in July of 2020. All design, construction and installation will be completed in time for the convention.
The commitment of $50,000 from the RCM Community Trust will provide prominent visibility for the Rotary Club of Milwaukee for more than 800,000 Central Library visitors each year. In addition to sponsorship signage, the club’s investment will also by acknowledged in the library’s online newsletter, program material, social media posts, tour guides, website, and media placement spotlighting the Grand Opening event in June 2020.
Milwaukee Central Library
In the words of fellow Rotarian Dr. Joan Prince:
“As a long-standing trustee of the Milwaukee Public Library Board, I have first-hand knowledge of not only the use of the Community Room, but the importance of this room in the eyes of staff and community…this much needed upgrade will provide an environment that is inviting, technology-rich and will inspire the active exchange of ideas and community conversations.”