As in most cities, Milwaukee has a wealth of sources for uncovering its history. In addition to the collections at Milwaukee Public Library and the Milwaukee County Historical Society, there are two fine universities with libraries and other sources, too.
One of the most pleasurable in which to work is the Legislative Reference Bureau, tucked away in the basement of City Hall, next to the mouth of the tunnel that runs under Market Street and connects to the Zeidler Municipal Building.
It's an unassuming space – or, it would be if there wasn't a floor-to-ceiling glass wall displaying Milwaukee books, like the world's best local-interest bookshop.
There are just a couple worktables in the main entrance, where the librarian on duty sits. That's because though folks come in to do research, a lot of work is transacted over the phone, via email or behind the scenes for municipal departments.
To quote the bureau's own brochure, "LRB research analysts attend all Common Council and Common Council standing committee meeting to assist the Council and other city departments in formulating city ordinances and policy. In addition to drafting city ordinances and resolutions, research analysts also research and write report for the Common Council dealing with governmental concerns."
The LRB also conducts surveys on municipal issues, provides budget analysis for the Council and, yes, allows the public to make use of its knowledge and its stacks of materials chronicling the history of our fair city, from census reports to newspaper clippings to city directories, books, city code histories, database services and more.
I stopped in today to say thanks to the bureau for displaying my book in its window, to make a donation of a Milwaukee book it didn't yet have in its collection and to spend a few minutes paging through a couple volumes of Milwaukee School Board proceedings to get a sense of what can be found at LRB.
While I was there, a woman at another table was working her way through a cart load of Milwaukee City Directories, searching for I don't know what. The librarian at the desk – Library Manager Eileen Lipinski, who was among the friendliest and most cheerful I've ever encountered – took a call from someone seeking clarification on city ordinances regarding Segways on city thoroughfares.
If you have a question you'd like – or you need – answered, you can call the LRB at (414) 286-8818 or email askLRB@milwaukee.gov. It's your LRB, check it out sometime.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published Sept. 27, 2016
Driving past, you might not really notice the changes at the Elite Sports Club-River Glen, 2001 W. Good Hope Rd., in Glendale, which was built as Le Club in 1972 and purchased by Elite in 2012. But on the inside, it seems that everything is changing.
Published Sept. 26, 2016
You know the old saying, "it takes a village." Well, that village is what's currently fueling the Milwaukee Public Museum's push to get its vast collections digitized and online. That and some funding from grants, too, of course.
Published Sept. 26, 2016
One of the oldest watering holes in the city, the White House, 2900 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is celebrating its 125th birthday on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2 with drink specials, games, raffles, food and more, as well as a food drive for Hunger Task Force.
Published Sept. 22, 2016
There was a time when removing a building was a dramatic affair: buildings imploded with a boom or were pounded by a wrecking ball. These days, thankfully, there's a growing approach that seeks to keep as much waste out of landfills and reuse and recycle as much material as possible.
Published Sept. 21, 2016
Did you know Milwaukee Public Schools has what might be the largest group of public Montessori schools in the world? Now, led by school board member Tati Joseph, there's a push to add a new South Side dual-language program to that group.
Published Sept. 20, 2016
Even in a neighborhood full of vintage architecture, there's no mistaking it. The Italianate Cream City Brick building at 1704 N. 4th St. looks old. If the area has had a long, varied history (and it has), then Baasen House is perfectly at home here.
Published Sept. 18, 2016
There's no better way to get a peek inside Milwaukee's most interesting - and often most historic - sites, many of them typically off limits to the public, than Historic Milwaukee Inc.'s annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. Here are 10 must-see sites.
Published Sept. 15, 2016
This is Brew City, so it should come as no surprise that we value Milwaukee's beer-soaked history. And Regano's Roman Coin has been a part of that tradition for five decades. In honor of it Regano's is throwing a party and we asked Teri Regano about it.
Published Sept. 13, 2016
Yesterday morning, a group of kindergarteners from Milwaukee Public Schools' Rogers Street Academy visited BMO Harris Bank to judge auditions by local sports mascots for roles in the upcoming production of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."
Published Sept. 12, 2016
This past weekend a Tosa resident staged a huge party at Red Dot on North Avenue in East Tosa with Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Rakim, EPMD and others. I was there for the first night of the two-day jam. Here are some images.