Wisconsin Library Heritage Landmarks
The purpose of this project would be to designate buildings or places in Wisconsin that are historically significant to libraries or which represent a particularly important library structure.
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison,
The state capitol building has played a significant role in Wisconsin library history. The current capitol is the second one built on this site. During its history, it has housed the State Law Library (see below), the Legislative Reference Library (see below), the Wisconsin Library Commission (see below), and the Cooperative Children's Book Center. It is one of the most beautiful state capitol buildings, if not the most beautiful, in the nation and is well worth a tour. The Reading Room for the Supreme Court is still housed in the capitol and contains some of the old shelves from the State Law Library when it was in the capitol. These shelves are made out of cast iron and steel and are the same as those designed by Bernard Richardson for the 1897 Library of Congress building (now the Thomas Jefferson Building). In the Assembly chambers there is a plaque honoring Charles McCarthy, the first librarian of the Legislative Reference Library.
The Library of the Wisconsin Historical Society was established in 1848 making it one of the oldest libraries in the state. The building in which it is located was built in 1900 to house both the WHS library and the library of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The library is home to one of the nation's great North American historical collections. It has a fabulous reading room. One of the most notable artifacts housed in the building is the bookcase that house the original small collection of the Society.
The 1898 central library of the Milwaukee Public Library is a must see in exploring Wisconsin library history. Because of its historical prominence, the building has often been featured on various kinds of library memorabilia. The library has a great permanent display of the office of a librarian. It's rare book room has examples of the custom designed metal bookcases for the library.