Waukesha Public Library
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The Basics

321 Wisconsin Ave.
Waukesha, WI   53186

Library Hours

Monday - Thursday
9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Summer Saturdays
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Map | Parking

Phone Numbers

Click here for a complete list of numbers



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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I get a library card?

A: Please stop by the Special Services Desk near the library entrance with identification showing your name and your current Waukesha County address. If you have additional questions about library card registration, please call our Circulation Department at 262-524-3684, or click here for a link to our library policies page where you'll find these and our other policies.

Q: How old does my child have to be, to be eligible for a library card?

A: There is no age restriction. This means even a newborn could be issued a card, if the family is otherwise eligible and with appropriate identification. Questions may be directed to our Circulation Department at 262-524-3684.

Q: I can't find my library card. What should I do?

A: Please stop by the Special Services Desk or call the Circulation Department at 262-524-3684. There is a small replacement fee for lost or damaged cards. Please note: If your card is lost or stolen, it is important to report this to the library immediately, so our staff can block unauthorized use. Even the loss of the key-chain duplicate card could compromise your account. (If you find your old card later-after being issued a new card-you should simply shred the older card.)

Q: Do I need my library card with me to check out materials?

A: It is expected that library users bring their cards when visiting the library. Your card allows you to use our self-checkout machines, access the Internet, place reserves, and so forth.

Q: How long is your check-out period? How many items can I check out?

A: Our loan period is three [3] weeks for most items, with the exception of movies and Rental items which are seven [7] days. For additional details, including loan limits on certain formats, click here to view the complete listing.

Q: What is the overdue fine?

A: Our library's overdue fine is 25 cents per day for most items. For movies, Rental books, and Interlibrary Loan items, however, the fine is $1.00 per day. Please click here to see a complete listing of our fines and fees.

Q: May I pay fines and other library fees with a credit card?

A: Yes. The library accepts MasterCard, Visa, and Discover cards.

Q: Can I be reminded just before my books are due?

A: Yes. We have a procedure for a courtesy e-mail reminder that is sent three [3] days before a book is due. Please click here for more information about due date reminders. You may sign up for reminders by filling out our e-mail form or by calling our Circulation Department at 262-524-3684. (Please note that failure to receive this courtesy reminder would not constitute an exemption from overdue fines.)

Q: I returned a book on time the other day, and when I checked online, it's still on my card. What should I do?

A: Due to high volume, our staff may not be able to “check in” every returned item on the same day. But items are backdated for the actual return date, so when the item does clear, no fine will accrue. So the best advice is to wait a day or two, and the situation should rectify itself. If several days have gone by and you still have concerns, please call our Circulation Department at 262-524-3684.

Q: Do you have photocopiers?

A: Yes. We have self-service black & white photocopiers at fifteen cents per page, and a color copier at seventy-five cents per page.

Q: Does the library have computers for public use?

A: Yes. Our public access computers include Internet and Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Your library card number is necessary to log on to our public machines. Use of the computers is free, but there are time limits, and printing costs fifteen cents per page. If you are visiting, or have just moved to our area and do not yet have proof of a local address, a one-time “Visitor log-in” may be possible. A photo ID is required. For additional information about our Internet policies, please click here.

Q: Can I save and print my document(s) on your public access computers?

A: Most people are able to save documents to their USB device, but we cannot guarantee compatibility with all devices. Printing (black & white only) is fifteen cents per page.

Q: Do you have free wireless Internet?

A: Yes. The library provides free wi-fi service. Signal strength may vary a bit in different areas of the building.

Q: Is someone available to help me use the Internet?

A: Our Reference staff can show you how to log in and get started. But because of our other reference duties, we are unable to spend more than a few minutes with individual computer users. Inexperienced computer users may wish to attend one of our computer classes. Click here for more information about these workshops. Our Reference librarians can also help you locate “how-to” books about computers and alert you to other possibilities for computer instruction, such as Learning Express's online tutorials, classes at WCTC, and other resources.

Q: Do you have a public fax machine?

A: Fax service is available using the BookScan Station located in the first floor computer area.
$0.25/page US & Canada
$1.00/page international

Q: Do you have meeting rooms?

A: The Waukesha Public Library has a community meeting room that is available to local nonprofit groups when it is not needed for library programming. Please click here for our meeting room description, policy, and link to an application form. We also have three small group study rooms and four individual study rooms available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please contact the Reference Desk at 262-524-3682 if you have additional questions about meeting rooms or study rooms.

Q: Do you have “drop-in” story times for children?

A: Our children's schedule typically includes “drop-in” story times and activities, as well as programs requiring advance registration. Click here for the children's programs page, or call the Children's department at 262-524-3692.

Q: Can I schedule a group tour or class visit?

A: We can accommodate most requests. Please click here for more information or contact the Children's Department at 262-524-3692 if the group is 6th grade or under. For tours/visits for middle school, high school or adults, please call the Information Services Department at 262-524-3682.

Q: What is the CAFÉ Cooperating Libraries Group?

A: CAFÉ is an acronym standing for “Catalog Access For Everyone.” Participating libraries share a combined catalog for customer convenience and resource sharing. Your library card from any of these libraries will work at all CAFÉ libraries. The participating communities are: Big Bend, Brookfield, Butler, Delafield, Eagle, Elm Grove, Hartland, Mukwonago, Muskego, New Berlin, North Lake/Merton, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Sussex/Lisbon, and Waukesha. For more information on the CAFÉ system, you may want to visit the CAFÉ web site which provides links to the various catalogs and a FAQ page.

Q: Can I check out a book at Waukesha and return it to another library?

A: Yes, as long as it is a CAFÉ library.

Q: Can I reserve a book at Waukesha, and pick it up at another library?

A: Yes, as long as it is a CAFÉ library. The receiving library will notify you when the item is ready. (Note: At the time of reserving the item online, you will need to change the “Pickup this item at…” location.)

Q: Can I return books and other materials after hours?

A: Yes. Most items can be returned to our drive-up book drop, which is located at the library's southeast corner. (Enter via our library's main parking lot from Maple Avenue or Carroll Street, and exit onto Grand Avenue.)

Q: Can I renew items ?

A: Yes. Our library's phone number for renewing items is 262-524-3684. You may also renew online by clicking on the “My Account” tab at the top of this page or in our online CAFÉ catalog. Please note that most materials may be renewed up to two [2] times. Items with a waiting list may not be renewed. Also, Interlibrary Loan Materials, Rental Items, Book Group Kits, and eReaders may not be renewed.

Q: Can I get on a waiting list for a checked-out item?

A: Yes. You can place a reserve (“Hold”) online in our CAFÉ catalog from the item's “Full Display” screen. Just click on the words “Place a hold on this title?” and follow the onscreen instructions. You may also reserve an item by telephone by calling our Reference Desk at 262-524-3682 or the Children's Desk at 262-524-3692.

Q: How do you notify me when my reserved item (“hold”) is ready?

A: You can choose to be notified by e-mail or via an automated phone call for items that are being held at our library. Note: If we don't already have your e-mail address, you can fill out a convenient sign-up form for e-mail notifications. Please stop by the Special Services Desk near the library entrance, or call the Circulation Department at 262-524-3684 for more information.

Q: How long do I have to pick up a reserved item, once I'm contacted?

A: Our library keeps the item on our “holds” shelf for seven [7] days from the date of notification.

Q: Do you have back issues of the Waukesha Freeman and Milwaukee Journal newspapers?

A: On microfilm, we have the Freeman from 1859 to the present and the Journal from 1979-2009. In addition, Waukesha library card holders may access an electronic resource called NewsBank for articles from the Milwaukee Journal, 1990-present. Note: Through the state's BadgerLink program, card holders may also use the electronic resources Newspaper Archive (selected older newspapers nationwide), and EBSCOHost (both magazines and newspapers). Please click here to go to a page that you can use to access these resources.

Q: What if I need a book or other item not owned by any CAFÉ library?

A: We may be able to obtain the item for a one-time check-out through Interlibrary Loan. Please click here for more information about Interlibrary Loan.

Q: Do you do genealogical research?

A: Unfortunately, we are not staffed at a level that permits our librarians to conduct family history research for individuals. We do have several resources for our library customers to use, however, including microfilm, reference books, and the electronic resources Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest. We also have an in-house brochure explaining the highlights of our local history collection, as well as several introductory “how-to” books on genealogy.

Q: Do you have an annual book sale? Can I donate books?

A: The library gratefully accepts donations of gently used books and other appropriate materials. Some of these items go into our collection, but many are sold to raise money to help the library. In lieu of an annual sale, the Friends of the Waukesha Library maintains book sale shelves that may be browsed whenever the library is open. Click here for more information about the library book sale program and here for more information about donations/contributions.


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