New library will be much more

Published 8:28 pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

By Dr. Paul Conco

The mission of Paul D. Camp Community College is to “provide diverse learning opportunities to enhance the quality of life for students and the community.” A partnership with the city of Suffolk and the proposed new Suffolk Public Library fits well with that mission.

The proposal is more than library resources; it is an opportunity and convenient location to offer academic classes, improved technology resources and greater options for higher education to our community.


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Paul D. Camp Community College’s library system is an important element of our college environment. We are proud of the services we offer and our ability to support the needs of students and the community at our campuses in Suffolk and Franklin and our center in Smithfield.

We now have greater access to more resources than ever before. Through systems like the Virtual Library of Virginia, The Virginia Community College Library Network and other shared resources, many millions of books, journals and scholarly works are available at the click of a mouse.

Our trained staff members help the student or patron navigate this new world of digital resources. And for those of us who continue to love the feel and smell of books, we have many of those too.

But let me be clear that our vision for this partnership is not simply about sharing library resources — it is about offering classes and certificates and degrees at a convenient location with several additional amenities.

These might include shared space such as meeting rooms, enhanced children sections, café and coffee shop, shared Internet services, admissions and academic counselors, shared professional staff, college work-study students, cutting-edge technology and much more.

Across the country you will find these types of college/public libraries being formed — look no farther than the joint-use library shared by Tidewater Community College and the city of Virginia Beach.

This proposed venture is not about limiting options but increasing options. It is about sharing and partnerships that provide synergy. It is about being economical and efficient, and serving more people. It is about “enhancing the quality of life for students and the community.”

We have many details to work out, but we remain excited about the vision and the opportunity this new venture will bring.

Dr. Paul Conco is president of Paul D. Camp Community College.