The $65 million Slover Library encompasses three centuries of architecture: the historic Seaboard building (1800s), the Selden Arcade (1900s), and a new six-story tower that connects them all. Newman Architects from New Haven, Conn. designed the 138,000-square-foot jewel that showcases traditional library functions with innovative technology, stunning ornamentation and engaging community spaces.
“Simply stated, Slover Library will be one of the finest libraries – anywhere,” said Harry Lester, president of Slover Library Foundation. “Today’s exceptional libraries are more than books, history and technology. The Slover provides our region with a centrally located, extraordinary place that will encourage community engagement and promote thoughtful conversations on issues important to our 1.7 million residents. It will be a place to participate in local democracy.”
The spaces at Slover Library are varied and offer something for everyone. Slover has books, but it is also a place to relax with a magazine or newspaper, catch up with a friend and meet over lunch or a cup of coffee. Slover offers rooms for events and meetings that can be reserved, touchscreens that enable you to research your family tree, computer and lab rooms, even space and equipment to produce your own video. And, to fully enjoy the big-city experience, the library offers downtown views from terraces and al fresco patio dining.
HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES
- More than 160,000 books and other items available to borrow
- Digital Media Lab to design and produce digital content, 3D printer, large-format printer, and Adobe software
- Multi-touch interactive experience showcasing the Sargeant Memorial Collection, the premier source for local history on the East Coast, with thousands of pieces of searchable photos and artifacts
- Digital displays located on the book shelves to access the library catalog and your account
- 130 public access computers with internet access
- Free Wi-Fi
- Self Check-out
- Classes and events from genealogy classes to children’s programs for people of all ages
- Architectural ornamentation on exterior, Forum roof and third-floor terrace by Kent Bloomer
- Cuisine at Slover, a 52-seat casual bistro with additional outdoor seating
- Space to convene up to 250 people for community conversations, events and programs
In 2008, Frank Batten Sr. donated $20 million for a new main public library to be named after his uncle Colonel Samuel Slover to recognize his contributions to the City of Norfolk. The Batten Foundation donated an additional $20 million. Slover was the founder of Landmark Communications and a former Mayor of Norfolk. Slover loved Norfolk, and he believed that an informed citizenry is one of the most important keys to its success. In 1954 at the age of 27, Frank Batten Sr. assumed the leadership of the Virginian-Pilot and the Ledger Star, which were owned by Landmark Communications. With strategic acquisitions and key investments, Batten developed Landmark Communications into one of the nation’s largest and most influential media companies. The City of Norfolk committed $22.6 million to Slover Library, and the remainder was collected from private contributions through the Slover Library Foundation.
Slover Library, located at 235 E. Plume Street in Norfolk, will offer computers, internet access, interactive displays and a digital media lab. Collections will include adult popular fiction and nonfiction, a youth library and learning center, and teen services in a casual environment and access to popular teen offerings. Additionally, the community will be able to access high-tech civic meeting rooms and the important Sargeant Memorial Local History and Genealogy Collection. Slover Library will be among the most technologically advanced public libraries in the country. The library will be open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For information visit www.sloverlibrary.com or call 757-664-READ (7323).