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Milwaukee Public Library continues to create social impact

Libraries are an integral part of a community. Beyond just storing thousands and thousands of books, Milwaukee Public Libraries, across 13 branches, have programs that cater to everyone.

These programs include job assistance, resume building and even tutoring. Kristina Gomez, events and programming librarian, said an example of recent programs was partnering with the Milwaukee County Historical Society to give an informal pictorial tour of Milwaukee’s Historic South Side at the Mitchell Street branch.

“It focuses on the South Side of Milwaukee, the history of the South Side, and really informing attendees on what this neighborhood used to look like, major events that happened in the space and then all of the people who moved to that area and made it what it is today,” said Gomez.

Mitchell and Muskego pre-1960 | Courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library photo archive

The Oct. 23 event was the second time that the Milwaukee Public Library partnered with the Milwaukee County Historical Society to showcase the history of the South Side.

“People are really interested in learning about the place they live and our city as a whole,” said Gomez. “Maybe its stuff that you just didn’t learn in school or as we try to understand our current community and society its important to look back at the history of a place.”

Intersection on Chase and Oklahoma without traffic lights | Courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library photo archive

Public libraries have always played an important role in society. Even so, some programs felt close to home for Gomez. 

“I have family members on my father’s side that came to the U.S. as adults and they used their local library for language learning opportunities and that made a drastic impact in their ability to become U.S. citizens and obtain jobs,” said Gomez.

Even if one’s relationship with the library might not be life-changing, it’s a place that’s for everyone. Whether it’s for the smell of old books, the free Wi-Fi or a presentation on the history of a neighborhood, the library provides opportunities for life long learning.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee