Library Gazette

Renate, We Hardly Knew Ye

Monday, June 1, 2009 7:36 am

With a lump in my throat, I must report that Renate has retired from the University. Her last day at work was Friday. She has been planning this for a while, but blood-swore us to absolute secrecy until she was gone. She specifically would not allow any kind of party or celebration of her many years of service. She was hired in September 1966 as a part-time library assistant in the cataloging department. Over the years, she was both part-time and full-time and even took a 6 year break from 1975 to 1981. Through it all, she epitomized the mission of the Z Smith Reynolds Library: to help our faculty and students succeed.

I only knew her for five years, but she made a definite impression on me as a new Director. She took my modest idea of keeping the library open 24 hours during exam week and turned it into the Wake the Library extravaganza that we now know and love. It was her idea to go out and raise money to serve food to the students and she did it with style. She was also the first chair of the Marketing Committee to invent the Library Lecture Series. She called in favors from a number of faculty to come and speak in the library and set the precedent for our current, highly successful events. These are only two of her many, many contributions to ZSR. She was the face of the Library to several generations of Wake Forest faculty, staff and students. I invite others to give their remembrances and tributes to the incomparable Renate!

10 Responses to “Renate, We Hardly Knew Ye”

  1. RENATE! We will miss you!

  2. Renate has been an unending font of ZSR history and corporate culture for me. I can’t tell you the times I’ve shouted from my desk, (without even knowing if she was on the other side of the wall), “Hey Renate” to ask her for some historical record of why things are the way they are in Access Services. She has always patiently tutored me. She is going to be missed in countless ways.

  3. Renate! I remember back when I started here at ZSR in the summer of 1994, I could always come to you if I had a question about how to get things done! I’ll always owe you for that!

  4. I too am going to miss Renate. However, I would like to comment on a very disturbing trend that’s going on here: people retiring without having a party. I’ve had about enough of this, and the next person to retire, I want you to have a party, so we can tell you how great you are and how much we’re going to miss you, dang it. If you don’t want to have the party for yourself, do it for us. (There’s also a practical side to this, it’ll give us the chance to ask you questions about your job before you leave.)

  5. Renate! The library won’t be the same without you! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and will miss seeing you whenever I go by the desk! I hope you have lots of fun planned!

  6. I agree with Lauren, the Library won’t be the same without Renate! She will be greatly missed!!!! Very sad to see her go! I know she will make the most out of retirement!

  7. From Mary Scanlon: On Saturday, the day after her last day of work, Renate came to work and ran the Circ Desk all day until closing. She’s an amazing woman and I’ll miss her.

  8. Renate, I don’t know how it’s going to be to come to work every day and not have you there. You’ve always been a good colleague and friend, and you will be sorely missed. Hope I can still see you to wave at as I run past your house :-)

  9. Like everyone else I hate to see Renate go but I wish her the best in her retirement. I’ll always be grateful to her because without her I’m not sure I would have my house. She overheard Laura Spear and Jim Kuzmanovich talking at eh circulation desk about a house that might go up for sale and insisted Laura tell me about it. I was a bit ambivalent about it but she pushed me to take a look and put me in touch with Jim. I got a look at the house (this all happened in one day) and the rest “is history”.

    I just want to say thank you Renate for everything you’ve done for me, for the library, and for Wake Forest. Have a great retirement!

  10. Renate, I’m still telling people how you taught me tips for locating missing books in the stacks when I was here in ’94. I put that learning to good use in my first position as a professional librarian and am so grateful to have learned from someone so savvy. I don’t know how we’ll get along without you. Please stop by and check on us now and then!


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