Who We Are
The New Berlin Public Library is a vital community destination open to everyone.
Provide a welcoming space for community connections with access to materials and services that enhance education, entertainment, culture, creativity, and curiosity.
For more details on how we aim to realize our vision and mission, please see our Strategic Plan.
About the Library
New Berlin Public Library belongs to the Bridges Library System, a cooperative of public libraries in Waukesha and Jefferson Counties. We encourage you to use the New Berlin Library as your primary library in order to help control community costs. However, you may check out and return materials at any member library.
History of the Library
1960 to 1970
When the community of New Berlin was made a city in 1960, it did not have a library. In the spring of 1963 a Library Study Committee was appointed by the mayor to determine the need for a library for the city. The committee did a survey of residents to see if residents would be in favor of a library, which they were. In October 1964 the committee recommended that the city establish a Library Board, and keep the library independent from other city departments. This was accomplished by June of 1965. The New Berlin Lions Club proposed that the city build a combination Community Center and Library, and began fundraising towards this end. Money was raised both door-to-door and through the Lions’ annual corn roast at the Wisconsin State Fair.
The New Berlin Public Library opened to the public on June 30, 1969, at 14750 W. Cleveland Avenue, with Paul G. Sotirin as director. Upon opening, the library had about 2400 volumes in the collection, and a staff of about 5. By 1970, there were 14,000 volumes in the collection and circulation of 67,000 items per year, with a yearly budget of $90,700. From its inception the library has offered story times and summer reading programs for children from preschool through high school, as well as programs for adults.
1971 to 2004
There were two additions to the original Library/Community Center building, the first being on the southern end of the building, in 1983. This was followed about eight years later by an addition to the western side of the library, which effectively tripled the size of the original library space, not including staff offices and Community Center space.
The library joined the Waukesha Federated Library System (now Bridges Library System) when it was formed in 1981. Sotirin remained director until his retirement in the spring of 1993, when Katie Schulz became director. By this time the library was once again beginning to outgrow the available space, and in the early 2000’s the Library Board were able to get a new building approved. After scouting out several locations throughout the city, including the existing site on Cleveland Avenue, the current site just off National Avenue and Coffee Road was chosen. The site is part of the New Berlin City Center, a cluster of commercial and residential buildings near the main city intersection of National Avenue and Moorland Road. The former library building still houses the Community Center, but also the Food Pantry and Senior Center.
2005 - 2021
The new 55,117 square-foot library opened on February 13, 2005, at 15105 Library Lane. In addition to space for the library collection, the building also offers study rooms and five meeting rooms. Katie Schulz retired in 2010, and Dennis Sampson took over as Director. Sampson retired in July of 2014, followed by Barbara Draeger, the fourth library director since the library opened. In 2021, Natalie Beacom, stepped into the role as Director. A resident of New Berlin for over 20 years and serving the New Berlin community as a Librarian for over 15 years, Natlie is excited to assume this leadership role at the Library.
2022 to Today
As we reach the end of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Library staff, services, programming and building access begin to return to what feels like "regular times". While we pivoted to virtual library access and services over the last two years, we missed you and are ready to see you again. During the Pandemic, we appreciated all the support you offered as we juggled curbside pick-up, longer lines through the drive-up window, varied masking mandates and distancing restrictions. Your words of encouragement and smiles when we had materials or crafts for you kept us going. Thank you for your flexibility and adapting with us during this time of upheaval when we were making decisions to keep everyone safe.
Open gatherings and in-person programming for those of all ages are back! Storytimes for young children and educational programs for adults are scheduled or on the way to launch this spring and summer. We are poised and ready to serve with new programs and collections. One new collection allows for "things" to be checked-out. The Library of Things collection includes recreational equipment, like pickle ball paddles and frisbee golf nets, baking pans for cake pops, mystery games, outdoor yard games and various educational STEM kits to encourage learners to develop important coding and mathematical skills. Searching the catalog for "Library of Things" will open up a whole new selection of items to enjoy from the library!