By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 27, 2020 at 12:31 PM

Milwaukee Public Library is opening its first branch since shutting down in March due to coronavirus this week.

The branch that's opening – Good Hope – is opening for the first time ever.

The Good Hope branch, 7715 W. Good Hope Rd., which is part of a mixed-used development that also includes residential units, will open on Wednesday, July 29 at 11 a.m.

In a message to library staff, City Librarian Paula Kiely wrote, "Most library openings come with much fanfare, crowds, programming, food, and giveaways. In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, this opening will be much smaller and quieter, but no less exciting."

Mayor Tom Barrett and other officials will make brief remarks to open the branch and there will then be tours. Masks will be required.

The library will have some limited access for now, according to Kiely, who wrote, "The library includes wonderful meeting spaces, a unique teen area, a maker space, a delightful children’s area and a fireplace room. Access to parts of the library and the collections will be restricted, but computers, WiFi, holds pick-ups, and reference services will all be available."

The $6.35 million branch is a replacement for the nearby Mill Road Branch Library. It is the third largest branch library in the system, with its 18,400 square feet coming in behind Mitchell Street (23,000 square feet) and Washington Park (20,000 square feet).

Opening of the branch was delayed due to COVID-19. For now, there will be restrictions on the number of patrons allowed inside at a time, as well as safety measures that include required social distancing and masks.

The restrictions also mean that some activities, such as browsing the stacks, are not yet allowed.

Designed by Zimmerman Architectural Studios and built by Platt Construction, Inc., the library was developed in partnership with Royal Capital Group and Maures Development Group.

Engberg Anderson was the building architect and NorthTrack Construction the builder.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.