The Van Wyck Branch of Norfolk Public Library opened on May 15, 1916 in a handsome brick building on 15th Street (now Shirley Avenue), across the street from Maury High School. It was Norfolk’s first library branch, built to serve the Ghent neighborhood. The branch was designed by the local architectural firm Ferguson, Calrow and Wrenn, and named to honor Henry Dubois Van Wyck. Upon his death in March 1901, Van Wyck bequeathed $15,000 to the City of Norfolk for the purchase of a lot for a public library. In 1912, six lots were purchased in Ghent, and the library was built with the help of a $20,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
The Van Wyck branch closed for renovation and expansion in late 1988. When it reopened in February 1990, it was double its former size, and the main entrance was relocated to DeBree Avenue, where an ADA-compliant ramp ensures access to all. The addition was designed by Design Collaborative of Virginia Beach.