Tidewater Community College and City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library

This state-of-the-art library serves as a model of successful joint-use public partnerships between municipalities and academic institutions – serving as a center for community engagement and learning delivering universal access to information for all users through seamless service.

Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was planning a new library for their campus. Simultaneously, the City of Virginia Beach was planning a new branch library located directly across the street. Virginia Beach librarians learned of the success of the nationally renowned MLK joint-use library in San José and recognized a potential partnership opportunity. The City, known for visionary planning and collaborations, believed a partnership could create a more dynamic and meaningful services for the community. The College recognized that a partnership could serve as a springboard to State funding, with the City bringing financial resources to the table, immediately elevating their project as a priority. For the project’s success, the College and City needed to work together to build a new model for library services, bringing two cultures together and creating a high-performance working team built on trust.

Recognizing that Anderson Brulé Architects experience in leading complex public process and joint-use partnerships made ABA uniquely qualified to assist in the development of the vision, the City hired her to develop a plan of service, operational plan, and conceptual design for this unique project. ABA led a 60-person task force through the feasibility phase. After approval, ABA then facilitated the development of a service plan, operational plan, program, and conceptual model, bringing together library staff, City and College leadership, and other community stakeholders to define a detailed approach to services. This work included information needed to create a memorandum of understanding for the partnership agreements between the State, College, and City.

ABA’s leadership facilitated a successful College and City partnership with a single vision and detailed plan leading to the project’s approval and funding. When the project later moved into architectural selection, ABA created a team with the Virginia-based architectural firm RRMM and Carrier Johnson of San Diego, with whom ABA had previously teamed on the MLK project, and the team was selected to design the project. Together, the team created an iconic building that successfully supports seamless service and integrated technology, resulting in an increase in student use, increased community enrollment, and becoming the center of community dialogue and collaboration.

The project has been nationally recognized by the American Library Association. ABA shared lesson’s learned with architectural and educational profession at the Society for College and University Planners to demonstrate how process design and facilitation of discovery process can develop into a transformational service model for joint use.

Design Team/Partners: Architects—RRMM Architects and Carrier Johnson+Culture

Tidewater Community College
City of Virginia Beach
120,000 SF
Strategic Planning
Master Planning
Higher Education