The Milwaukee Public Library announced on May 5 that it would begin offering patrons the opportunity to borrow materials in a limited manner while its locations remain closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Patrons will receive an appointment time to pick up materials when they make their requests. Materials must be picked up by the cardholder or parent at the Central Library Drive-Up window in a vehicle. No walkups will be accommodated.

“We are pleased to be able to offer physical materials to our patrons again, even if it is in a limited manner,” said Library Director Paula Kiely. “We are taking great care to minimize risk and ensure that patron and staff safety remains top of mind under this pandemic. We look forward to the day we can reopen our doors to the public. In the meantime, we encourage people to visit us online at for lots of virtual programming and a host of valuable and free online resources.”

To request materials the public can call (414) 286-3011 to reserve up to five items from Milwaukee Central Library at 814 W Wisconsin Avenue, for pickup at the Central Drive-Up service window on Eighth Street between Wisconsin and Wells Avenues. At the moment, patrons cannot place requests for any material via CountyCat online or mobile app. MPL also cannot accommodate requests for items from other libraries to be sent to the Central Drive-Up.

“During this unusual time, people are looking for ways to keep themselves and their families engaged. I am pleased that we are now able to safely provide a limited offering of Milwaukee Public Library services to our residents. Take advantage of this opportunity to take up a new hobby or educate yourself on a particular topic from the comfort of your home,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

Hours of operation are Mondays and Tuesdays from Noon to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All library materials will be due June 1 or later. No materials will be accepted for return prior to June 1, either at the Central Drive-Up or any Library Return Drops.

© Photo

Lee Matz and Google StreetView

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January 2020. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following year, we have published hundreds of articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
For medical resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. All editorial content published by Milwaukee Independent can be found at With a mission of transformative journalism, our staff is free from commercial bias and are not influenced by corporate interests, political affiliations, or a public preferences that rewards clicks with revenue. As an influential publication that provides Milwaukee with quality journalism, our award-winning photojournalism and features have helped to achieve a range of positive social impact that enriches our community. Please join our effort by entrusting us with your contribution. Your Support Matters - Donate Now