In October 2008, the late Frank Batten Sr., long-time chairman of Landmark Communications, committed $20 million to the construction of a new main library in downtown Norfolk. The new main library is named in honor of Batten’s uncle, Colonel Samuel L. Slover, who founded Landmark communications in the early 1930’s. He was also a former Mayor of Norfolk who loved the city, believing that an informed citizenry is one of the most important keys to its success. The City of Norfolk appropriated another $40 million toward the $64 million dollar project, and in 2010, to satisfy the $24 million balance, Mrs. Jane Batten proposed the Batten Challenge. The Batten Challenge committed an additional $20 from the Batten Foundation if the citizens of Hampton Roads donated $4 million to the Slover Library.
Construction of the new library, designed by Newman Architects LLC, of New Haven, Connecticut, began in the spring of 2012, and the building is projected to open late in 2014. This facility will be a highly accessible, engaging and attractive information and education destination for all who visit, feature the latest technology, and offer public engagement space that will be available to the community.