In 2010, the Milwaukee Central Library became the focus of local media with its efforts to go green. Environmentally friendly roofing was installed to replace the original Neo-Renaissance design built by Ferry & Class in 1898 together with state of the art temperature-sensitive cameras and photovoltaic cells. Also considered a historical landmark, the library?s annex is a modern addition completed in 1957.
Although the state law for the establishment of a public library in Milwaukee was approved in 1878, the library can trace its roots further with the creation of the subscription library Young Men?s Association in 1847. The library was the chosen venue for talks featuring famous figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Horace Mann. Its 10,000-plus collection of materials as well as the rented venue was then passed to the city library?s management in 1878.