The Inspiration for Slover Library

Col. Samuel Slover

Col. Samuel Slover

In 2008, Frank Batten Sr., former CEO and chairman of Landmark Communications, donated $20 million for construction of a new main library to be named after his uncle and former Norfolk Mayor, Col. Samuel Slover. Mr. Batten’s wish was for the new library to be one of the most high-tech libraries in Virginia. Following Mr. Batten’s death, the Batten Foundation added an additional $20 million to the project. The City of Norfolk committed $22.6 million, and the remainder was collected from private contributions through the Slover Library Foundation. 

These gifts are made with the intention that the memory of Col. Slover will be preserved perpetually, and serve as a reminder of his many contributions to the city of Norfolk. He loved Norfolk and believed that an informed citizenry was vitally important to its success. The Colonel eventually founded the media company that later became Landmark Communications.

In 1954, at the age of 27, Batten assumed leadership of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star newspapers. With strategic acquisitions and key investments, Batten developed Landmark Communications into one of the nation’s largest and most influential media companies.

The Slover Library Vision

The vision for this spectacular destination that opened in January 2015 is to blend traditional library functions with the best of contemporary library resources and services. The innovative space design creates a vital and dynamic center of community learning, leading-edge technology and civic engagement, available to all citizens of the region. More than just a public library, it is known as an attraction for residents and visitors alike.

Slover Library encompasses three buildings with 138,000 square feet of combined space: the renovated historic Seaboard building, a retrofitted Selden Arcade, now called the Selden Market, and a modern new six-story addition that connects the Seaboard and the Selden with a three-story glass atrium and tower featuring custom ornamentation by sculptor/architect Kent Bloomer.

The library was designed by Newman Architects, of New Haven, CT, in association with Tymoff+Moss, of Norfolk, VA.

"The goal is to create a vital and dynamic center of community learning,leading-edge technology and civic engagement, available to all citizens of the region."