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Martin Luther King Jr. Library set to close on May 6 in Milwaukee

Posted at 5:33 AM, May 03, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's Martin Luther King Library is set to close to make way for big changes.

Saturday (May 6, 2023) is the last day you can visit the branch. A temporary location will open soon and a brand-new building is set to open in the fall of 2024.

Here's a look at the renderings for the $37 million building supported in part by federal, state, and city money. It will be a mixed-use facility featuring space for affordable housing — similar to the redesigns of the East Branch, Mitchell Street, Villard, and Good Hope locations.

"It's been helping us build brand new spaces that are more up-to-date, modern, high-tech, and bigger," explained Joan Johnson, the director of Milwaukee Public Library. "It makes it more affordable for us because there are a lot of parts of that building that are shared with the developer."

The new MLK branch will expand to 18,000 square feet. There are even plans to include energy-saving features that city leaders say will make this library the greenest in the city and maybe even the state.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs, who grew up visiting the MLK Library, says it could lead to additional growth in the neighborhood. "My hope is once MLK Library is done, the thing that's a little bit different than some of the other mixed-use developments, is that this will be a redevelopment of the entire block," she explained.

A smaller, temporary library with Wi-Fi is set to open in the King Drive Commons Building. "There will not be a community room in this facility so the programming that we would normally have won't be happening there," warned Johnson. For programming, she recommends patrons visit the two closest branches which would be East and Central Library.

Click here to fill out a survey and share what you'd like to see in the new MLK Library.

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