NORFOLK — Slover Library has made the step to take its capabilities to the next level by becoming its own department in the city.
Lynn Clements, the library’s executive director, said people should view the move as an administrative shift on the city side and as a broadening of the library’s capabilities for the public.
Slover will still function as a public library and its functions will coordinate with the other Norfolk Public Libraries, Clements said.
By becoming its own department, the library will have access to its own budget and Clements will have the latitude to have staffing in place such as a new head librarian and a facilities manager to better run the library, she said.
The biggest take-away from the shift, she said, is that Slover will be offering more technological capabilities, more resources and will have the funds to expand its reach to the public on a regional level.
The shift came about because City Manager Douglas Smith was anxious to see Slover reach out and become a regional asset. Because of his excitement he wanted to get going as quickly as possible, Clements said.
She notified her staff of the change on Jan. 1 and she said they were very excited about it.
Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A few technological advancements the public can look forward to are upgraded software to the touch tablets available on the third floor, a robotics program for teens and young adults and additions to resources for life-long learning, Clements said.
She said the library is focused on putting a bigger emphasis on their life-long learning opportunities.
“We want to take things to the next level and be a more regional resource,” she said.
While the library is still waiting on the budget for fiscal year 2020, which will be approved in May and go into effect on July 1, 2019, they will be working with the remaining funds from this year as well as grant money for the technological upgrades, Clements said.
The grant money comes from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation/The Virginian Pilot Fund and it is a technology fund for $141,000, Clements said.
That money coupled with the new budget starting in July will be useful in getting the changes accomplished and give Slover Library more regional visibility.