New Library Planning

A New Kimbrough Library for Ringling College of Art and Design

"The Library project meets a set of immediate practical problems and a set of wonderful opportunities. Our new library will make a difference for Ringling College and be a distinctive expression of its identity.” Dr. Larry Thompson, President

Ringling College of Art and Design will build a new 50,000 sq. ft. library learning facility within the next two to three years. The new facility will be a locus of learning for a creative academic community of visual artists and designers, consistent with a preeminent institution. The new library will provide innovative, well-designed spaces for teaching, learning, research, reflection, work, socializing and collaboration. It will house and display the library's growing physical and media collections and capitalize on its expanding digital collections.  The new library facility will replace the existing 12,000-square-foot library operation currently located on the main floor of the Verman Kimbrough Memorial Library building, which opened in 1980.

On behalf of the Library Building Committee, Tracy Wagner, Vice President for Finance and Administration, announced that the design team of Shepley Bulfinch (Boston)and Sweet/Sparkman Architects (Sarasota) has been selected to assist the College with the design of the New Library. This recommendation was endorsed by Facilities/Campus Master Planning Committee and further affirmed by the Board of Trustees on April 19, 2012. Four architect/design teams were invited to present conceptual designs for the new library to campus constituents. “We want to thank each one of you who attended the presentations and provided comments. Your input was essential and assisted in making a complex decision. We are very excited to be moving forward with the design of the New Library. There will be a number opportunities for you to share your ideas and provide input in the coming months as the design team will begin their preliminary work over the summer and engage the campus community in Fall 2012."


Fundraising for the new facility is ongoing, guided by co-chairs and trustees Isabel Norton and Carolyn Johnson and Senior Development Officer Stacey Corley.  A new Kimbrough Library is a key initiative of the Ringling College Comprehensive Campaign “Pathway to Preeminence.” 

Initial Planning

The Library Planning Leadership Team guided initial planning, including visioning, programming, timeline, and location.  Planning is informed by the institutional Strategic Plan, the Academic Master Plan, and the Campus Master Plan. The visioning process was informed by Ringling College’s statement of missionstudent competenciescore values, and scholar practitioner philosophy

The visioning process was undertaken with a series of introductory meetings between Ringling constituents with consultant Scott Bennett, Library Space Planning.

The final draft of the Library Study program document from the work of the Library Planning Leadership Team with Ayers/Saint /Gross in the spring of 2011 was completed in September following reviews and edits by the administrative team.   

Ringling Futurist-in Residence David Houle and Library Futurist Stephen Abram have spoken on campus on behalf of the Library Campaign. 

A Library Building Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees is guiding the project.  Members are: Cheryl Loeffler, Chair and Trustee; Carolyn Johnson, Trustee; Susan Palmer, Trustee; Isabel Norton, Trustee ; Herman Frankel, Community Member; Melody Weiler, VP Academic Affairs;  Tracy Wagner, VP Finance and Administration; Kathleen List, Director of Library Services; Jeff Poleshek, Asst. VP/Director of Facilities; and Michael Moore, VP Advancement.


The New Library will be constructed on the site south east of the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Old Bradenton Road. Currently on that site are the Brandenburg Studio and a parking lot. The Campus Master Plan completed in 2011, included site selection for the New Library. 



Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Filmmaking, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Graphic & Interactive Communication, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 47-acre campus now includes more than 100 buildings, and enrolls 1,320 students from 46 states and 46 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts.