The Libraries

Child sitting in chair showing picture book to reading buddy dog.

Reading Library

Drop by the Reading Library to explore our collection of 6,000 contemporary picture books.

It’s open any time the museum is open, so visitors of all ages can relax, play, and try out new titles. You’ll find old favorites and new releases, award-winning books, Eric Carle titles, and books in world languages. This is a non-circulating collection, meant for your enjoyment while you are at the Museum. Rotating book exhibitions exploring themes in children’s literature are also on display. Visit Exhibitions to learn about the current book exhibition. 

Books in our collection have been generously donated by publishers, artists, authors, and collectors. If you would like to donate a book to one of our libraries, please read our Donation Guidelines.


The Reading Library hosts school visits, professional development workshops, special events with authors and illustrators, and regular storytimes. Visit Events to learn more about our storytime program and schedule. 

Illustration of bunny reading a book.
Wendell Minor, Illustration for How to Be a Bigger Bunny by Florence Minor (HarperCollins). Gift of Florence and Wendell Minor. © 2017 Wendell Minor.

Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL)

The non-circulating BERL collection was amassed by Barbara Elleman over the course of her thirty-year association with the children’s literature field as an editor at Booklist, a founder of Book Links magazine, and a distinguished scholar of Children’s Literature at Marquette University. Together with her husband Don, Barbara Elleman donated over 1,000 volumes to The Carle so that students and researchers could benefit from her rich collection. The BERL’s holdings include author and illustrator biographies, literary criticism, histories, contemporary bibliographies, illustration studies, catalogs of international and national picture book art exhibitions, periodicals, and related ephemera. Each year, inspired by the BERL’s rich contents, The Carle invites a scholar, librarian, artist, or publishing professional to deliver a lecture.

The BERL is accessible during museum hours by appointment. Email Librarian Betty Matthews at to schedule an appointment.

Assortment of books from the BERL collection

Miniature Kate Greenaway almanacs from the Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL). Greenaway produced almanacs annually from 1883 to 1897 (no almanac in 1896). They contain calendars denoting holidays, phases of the moon, zodiac signs, and poems.