The most modern public library downtown Madison has ever seen celebrated its opening this past weekend.
Madison Public Library’s Central branch, located at 201 W. Mifflin St., officially opened its doors Saturday morning after a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.
The new library boasts three times the number of computers as the old library and double the amount of space open to the public, which library digital services and marketing manager Tana Elias said was lacking before.
Parts of the library will be dedicated to free programs and classes, social services and outreach, according to Elias. Those include computer skills assistance to “[teach] kids 21st century literacy skills in addition to focusing on reading,” Elias said. “People need these skills for jobs.”
The updated library also features a digital media lab where people can come to use audio and video recording equipment, which Elias said is “extremely popular” with the college-aged demographic.
“In designing this space and designing what would happen in this space, we really wanted ways to bring people into the public library, people that may not have used the public library in the past,” Elias said.
The library logged over 500,000 visitors in 2010, but over a million are expected to visit this year, according to the library’s redesign website. 180,000 of those visitors are anticipated youths.
One such youth is University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Amanda Olson, who said although she never came to the library before the redesign, “I think I’ll probably be coming here a lot.”
Minneapolis architectural firm Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle designed the building, which Elias said is expected to receive either a silver or gold LEED certification for its environmental friendliness.