Library Gazette

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Thursday, May 7, 2015 8:09 am

This is the final issue of the ZSReads newsletter during my tenure as Dean of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. It has been my honor to serve the information needs of the students, faculty and staff of the university for 11 years. There is no better academic library anywhere, thanks to the wonderful library faculty and staff who work at ZSR. The next issue of ZSReads will feature a profile of the next Dean, who will carry on the tradition.

For ways to support the library and its mission, please see Giving to the Library.

Lynn Sutton

Extreme Outreach: #bigdisrupt and Connections & Conversations

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 3:38 pm

This has been the Year of Outreach at ZSR. We have tried a number of different modes of outreach, from ZSRx to Dean’s List Gala to the alternative break Staycation. The latest two outreach activities were very ambitious in scope: a campus-wide symposium on the future of higher education, dubbed The Big Disruption: The Coming Transformation of Higher Education, and an alumni weekend called Connections and Conversations. I will explain each.

#bigdisrupt was the hashtag created for the event that started with an idea from Bob Hebert, as chair of the Staff Development Committee. He was looking for a program to offer in collaboration with the Librarians’ Assembly Mentoring Committee. When they consulted with me on the idea for a program on the future of higher education, I advised that it become a larger, university-wide event with high level speakers. We eventually settled on a panel of three speakers: Provost Rogan Kersh, Vice President for OPCD Andy Chan, and Mike Riley, a Wake Forest alum who is currently the editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. I was happy to serve as moderator of the panel. We drew in assistance from the Library Lecture Series experts, as well as Barry and Kevin and Lauren Suffaletto. As usual, it takes the whole ZSR village to put on a show!

Nearly 200 people attended the event and by all accounts, it was a great success! I framed the question with preliminary remarks, mentioning how the changes we have seen in libraries foreshadow the changes coming to higher education. Then I asked a series of questions on topics such as MOOCs, value of a liberal arts degree, tenure, unsustainable costs, changing demographics, admissions, and the failure of the model. Panelists knew the general topics in advance, but did not know what their individual questions would be. Audience members asked hard questions during the Q&A and a lively twitter feed ran throughout.

Barry recorded the entire event, which you can find here. Charles took these photographs (thank you, Charles).


Connections and Conversations started with a suggestion from an alumnus and member of the Board of Visitors. He said that not all Wake Forest alums come back for Homecoming and other events centered around sports. He wondered if the University could offer a weekend back on campus around intellectual topics, where they could engage with faculty on ideas, just like the old days. That sounded so worthwhile that I offered to work with the Alumni Office to make it happen. We wanted it to take place in ZSR so that alums who had not seen the library in a while could witness the changes that had happened over the years. We chose the theme of “well-being” because of its central importance to the university. I recruited six faculty and staff speakers around the 8 dimensions of well-being. Provost Kersh, Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue, and Student Government President Jacqueline Sutherland were the keynote speakers. We added tours of the new buildings on campus and Reynolda House for variety. Provost Emeritus Edwin Wilson was a crowd favorite at the opening reception on Friday night at Graylyn.

Feedback has been been extremely positive from the attendees. They loved being on campus and interacting with faculty and students again. They said we should do it every year! I offer my deepest gratitude to Pat Boone from Alumni Services, Lauren S, Barry and Susan for spending their Saturday on this event. For more pictures, you may view Susan’s Flickr set here (thank you, Susan).


Monday, February 24, 2014 8:42 am

Welcome to the Business Information Commons at Farrell Hall! Since July 1, 2013, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library has become the source of library operations and services to the combined School of Business. The Info Commons is a digital library of the future, with no traditional print books or journals. However, the entire collection of ZSR resources and services stands behind this virtual information center.

In this special edition of our newsletter, we are pleased to introduce our business library faculty and the services they can provide. Our mission is to help Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff succeed. Here is how we can do it for you.

From Lauren Pressley

Sunday, February 24, 2013 11:37 pm

A Chapter Ends, A Chapter Begins

Posted on February 24, 2013 by

Tomorrow I start my new job, at a new library, so though I still have a few posts in the queue related to the work I had been doing, I wanted to write a post about what it was to work at ZSR, mostly for myself, to capture it as I think of it at this point in time.

ZSR as a Library

ZSR Library: Ammons Symposium and a 5K! I came to ZSR (the Z. Smith Reynolds Library of Wake Forest University) pretty much straight out of college. My (now) husband and I took a 30-day Greyhound bus trip around the country after college, and then it took a few months for me to find the position there. I started out as a library assistant in Microtext, really as a placeholder, not even sure what it was I wanted to do with my life.

And in that position I found my career. I learned that not only did I love libraries (which I already knew), but that I loved working in libraries. I also found that I worked with some of the most caring and kind people who were genuinely interested in supporting each other. I found it was a safe environment to try new things. (Sure-look at that wiki, in 2004, complete with video, just to train microtext student employees! Nice job!) And that innovation and experimentation were increasingly celebrated.

Over time that supportiveness just increased. The ZSR community is incredibly helpful and creative, and above all: focused on the library’s mission: To help students, faculty, and staff succeed. I always knew I could find a partner in any project I dreamed up, and that it was safe to try and make things happen. Worse case: new ideas didn’t work, and we stop doing them. Best case: we developed entirely new lines of service! I was lucky to be involved in best-case scenarios for the most part.

ZSR Support for a New Professional

Those best-case scenarios? All kinds of things! I cannot emphasize enough how powerful an experience that is for a new professional. Dreaming up things and then making them happen? It sets the individual up to dream up new things and the library to benefit from new ideas. Win-win all around. And many of my projects happened with others collaborators, in the library, elsewhere at the university, and in one case, at other universities.

A few of the highlights included:

  • the library’s first wiki, that was enhanced with photos and videos (as mentioned before)
  • the library’s Toolkit of video-based tutorials which was well received both by students and the field at large, with my general partner-in-crime, Kevin Gilbertson
  • the development and implementation of the library’s social software strategy, again with Kevin
  • co-founding NC-LITe, a state-wide library instructional technology discussion group, with Steve Cramer and Beth Filar-Williams of UNCG and Kim Duckett of NCSU
  • working very hard as the instructional design librarian to raise the profile of instructional design as a service and professional area of expertise on campus, and since then the larger WFU community has benefited from several new positions developed in this vein
  • developing and teaching (most) sessions of a “teaching teaching” course, which I’m still blogging about here, over at least two academic years total
  • co-writing our successful ACRLExcellence in Academic Libraries nomination with Susan Sharpless Smith
  • facilitating the collaborative process of getting all teaching librarians on the same page to develop programmatic learning outcomes for the LIB100 program, and also leading committees to reinvent our course evaluations and assessment tools
  • developing and teaching the first undergraduate class in the College that was conducted entirely online
  • leading a small committee that worked to democratically draft a values statement for the entire library that captured who we are and who we want to be
  • and working with one of the greatest groups I’ve ever worked with to create an open access, electronically available, information literacy textbook.

Oats&Tea @ TechXploration

I also found that I really loved strategic planning, something I hadn’t been exposed to before my work at ZSR, but something I had the good fortune to do at thelibrary level and the exceptionally good fortune to participate with at theUniversity level.

In all of this, I learned that I had something to contribute and might actually be pretty good at this library work. I was able to do work that was meaningful to me from the front-lines perspective whether it was changing the processes in microtext, creating a new web service with a colleague, or inventing what it was an instructional design librarian would do at my institution. I was also lucky to be at a place that was happy to let me do what I thought I needed to do to do my job well whether that was conducting focus groups, usability studies, or adapting my teaching on a week-by-week basis.

In addition, like all librarians, I was involved in all kinds of committees from marketing to staff development to web to peer review to assessment to staff appreciation to various strategic planning initiatives. I liaised with subject areas, did reference hours, taught credit bearing classes, and administered our instruction program. I served on university committees and helped academic faculty teach more effectively through one-on-one consulting and workshops.

This broad experience was incredible. I learned a lot about how academic libraries function across all units, the student academic experience at Wake Forest, and the faculty teaching experience. I also learned to believe that I could make things better and that it’s okay to try new things. That’s an important lesson, and I know it’s not one that everyone is lucky enough to learn in their first job.

I also learned things about myself: that my favorite work is in the strategic/vision vein, that I like governance, that I could be effective in ALA, and that I wasn’t half bad at presenting.

And I learned this both from my day job as well as from my library’s support of my professional involvement outside of ZSR, which I won’t even go into at this point in this post, but professionally-beyond the walls of the campus-I was also incredibly encouraged and nurtured by my colleagues and mentors.

ZSR Support for an Employee as a Person

And, on personal side, I was in an exceptionally good place for the phase of life I was in. ZSR celebrates life milestones, and they threw showers for John and me when we were engaged as well as when we were expecting Leif. They were incredibly supportive and flexible while I was getting my MLIS, and colleagues always were interested in how things were going with Leif when I was just learning how to juggle parenting and work responsibilities. Not only that, but ZSR was very supportive of my writing, even being the contributor to complete the campaign for So You Want To Be A Librarian.

ZSR also supported getting to know people across the university, both in academic departments and in administrative units. I could walk into any meeting on campus and know someone, which is one of the blessings of a small institution. I could run into someone in the food court, and come up with a new service the library should offer that person (and people in their same situation) and a week later it could be a reality.

My small, but smart, awesome, and incredibly productive, instruction unit was a dream team to work with, and I’m sorry to not be there with them. I only got to work with our newest addition, Kyle Denlinger, for about six months! (Y’all watch him, he’s going to do big things.) And when I think of ZSR, what I think of is that I worked with many amazing colleagues, and my best friends. I had some of the most fun committee meetings I can imagine and somewhat regular falafel lunches with friends during the summer months.

I worked in two different units, three different times, for four different people in the nine years I was there, and though I never reported directly to the Dean, Lynn Sutton, I still had the amazing fortune to be able to have somewhat regular meetings with her due to various committee appointments. Lynn is incredible. She has done amazing things leading the ZSR library, and in some ways, the larger institution. And though I am so very excited about this next chapter in my professional and personal life, I’ll miss working with her.

In the remarks I gave at my going-away party (another milestone celebrated with colleagues) I included a bit about how I’m tempted to say ZSR was an incredible place to start my career, because it absolutely was for me. But that’s not actually entirely accurate. It’s an incredible place for people at any point in their career, because it’s a wonderful place with amazing people doing the highest quality work. And that’s absolutely true.

The Next Chapter

So, you should know by this point in the post, that for me to even consider leaving such a wonderful place would only be for the most incredible of opportunities. And I believe that’s what’s in store. Tomorrow I start at Virginia Tech, and I am inspired by what they’re doing and can’t wait to join in on the work. There are a lot of new people to meet, systems to learn, structures to take in, and things to do, and I’m ready. Here’s hoping I can start off the day right: figuring out campus parking!


Presidents’ Leadership Conference

Sunday, September 25, 2011 7:57 am

This is my 5th Presidents’ Leadership Conference at Wake Forest, a retreat weekend sponsored jointly by the President of Student Government and the President of the University. This year, we returned to Smith Mountain Lake, Va, which is a beautiful setting in the Blue Ridge area. Operating under a theme of “Courageous Leadership,” the speakers this year were the best I have experienced at PLC. Highlights:

  • Melenie Lankau, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the Schools of Business, led us in small group exercises to uncover the importance of going beyond the numbers of diversity to be a truly inclusive community.
  • Angela Mazaris, Director of the LGBTQ Center, led us in small group exercises to define just what each of those letters mean, a particularly useful exercise for me!
  • Jim Dunn, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, enthralled the group with a challenge to student leaders to embrace the controversial topics in society and lead the campus in open discussions of the three areas he considers most vital to America’s long term success: politics, education, and energy, and be ready to sacrifice, as they have never been called to do in their lives, for the sake of the future.

After dinner, Justin Catanoso, new program director in Journalism and author of My Cousin the Saint: A Search for Faith, Family and Miracles, gave a poignant accounting of the canonization of his grandfather’s second cousin, Gaetano Catanoso, and what it meant to his family.

But for me, the highlight of the conference came when our two Liberian visitors, Jacob Jallah and Joe Wilson, spoke about their experiences at Wake Forest. They both said how warmly they had been received and how much they appreciated the experience. Using the theme of “Courageous Leadership,” Jacob said that when they visited the library (thank you again, Mary Beth), they had been given a copy of the documentary film, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” He cited the example of the women in the film as being courageous leaders, risking death by standing up to the warlord Charles Taylor and demanding an end to the atrocities of civil war. Then Joe got up and delivered an oration worthy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He said that for years, he had been told he was the “future” of his country. He said he was tired of waiting for the future and pledged to go out and be a current leader, using his experiences and training to raise his country back up by taking up all the themes that Jim Dunn challenged them all to do in the morning. Like Jim, he told the Wake Forest students to embrace, rather than avoid politics, because it affects every component of their lives. He sat down to a thunderous ovation. I was so proud of them, I cried.

This morning, we will hear the results of the small group discussions that the students had last night on ways to improve student life at Wake Forest, addressing tough topics such as substance abuse and illegal drug use. I am anxious to hear what they say.


Welcome, Class of 2015

Friday, August 26, 2011 10:48 am

Dear Class of 2015,

Welcome to your new life at the award-winning Z Smith Reynolds Library! ZSR stands ready to help you with your studies over the next four years. Our mission is to help you succeed, so please ask if you have questions about the library, the university, or anything else. Even if you don’t ask, we will be there with you 24×7 during exams, in class with you if you take Lib 100, and tempting you with fun times like Capture the Flag and Humans v. Zombies. Find your own favorite spot to study in the library and your own favorite ZSR friend to answer your questions.

We look forward to working with you.

Lynn Sutton
Dean, Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Nicaragua Nexus

Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:51 pm

I had the privilege of joining the Wake Forest delegation to Managua Nicaragua February 23-26, 2011 to dedicate Casa Dingledine in the program known as Nicaragua Nexus. This facility is different than Wake Forest’s other international houses in that it is not residential (yet) and is intended for short stays of 1-3 weeks, rather than an entire semester. So far, undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students from Business, Law, and Divinity have all gone on trips to help the people of Nicaragua.

This short trip was eye-opening to me in many ways. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere – next to Haiti. A land of great natural beauty, it has been despoiled by human intervention and political unrest. Our excellent guide told us that many foreigners come in on short, one-shot mission trips and visits, but Wake Forest has earned the respect of the locals through its sustained efforts and now permanent presence. The Business School has led efforts to train local entrepreneurs in good business practices. At the dedication on Friday night, half of the crowd consisted of local educators, business people, and others touched by Wake Forest’s initiatives.

One of the most poignant segments of the trip was the visit to NicaHope. This is an effort to provide children an alternative to sorting trash from the municipal garbage dump as a way of earning a living. Over 200 families live in the La Chureca dump. NicaHope volunteers train the children in jewelry-making and computer skills so that they can help their families while staying in school. Our group enthusiastically bought jewelry as a way of supporting the children. While touring their site I asked if they had any books and was told no, they had none, but could certainly use some! I’d like to think of a way to select and ship them some books.

My “business purpose” for the trip was to assess what kinds of books should be placed in the small library of Casa Dingledine. I will want to talk to a small group of those concerned from ZSR to decide on what is most appropriate. Because students and faculty from all across the campus are likely to use the Nicaragua Nexus, the materials will need to be well-chosen.

I was honored to be included in the group and commend the vision and generosity of Tom and Karyn Dingledine to make it a reality.

ZSR wins ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award!

Monday, January 10, 2011 9:36 am

Think BCS or NCAA championship. Seriously. Think Super Bowl. Yesterday, I received a call at home from the President of the Association of College and Research Libraries informing me that ZSR was the 2011 recipient of the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, the highest national honor that an academic library can achieve. Previous winners are Indiana University, Minnesota, McMaster (in Canada), Georgia Tech, Rochester Institute of Technology, Virginia, Washington, Loyola New Orleans, Cornell, Arizona and NC State. Good company!

This is for you, all past and present ZSR staffers including, and especially, Rhoda Channing. The award is meant to recognize the accomplishments of librarians and library staff as they come together as members of a team to support the mission of their institution. That is the essence of ZSR; no one does it better. We don’t have much money, we do it all from the heart.

Susan and Lauren Pressley put together a fabulous application, complete with website. To learn more about the award, look here. The award winners will be announced from the ALA Conference in San Diego today, with the official press release coming from ALA either tomorrow or next Tuesday. A gala celebration will be held on campus sometime in the spring when the award will be formally presented by the ACRL President.

It doesn’t get any better than this.



Wake the Library Fall 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010 1:47 am

Wake the Library is off and running! Susan, Travis and I served up (messy) sub sandwiches to (mostly) grateful students at midnight and watched two (very polite) students put up hammocks on the third floor who thanked us for letting them do it. Right after a beautiful Love Feast, it was a lovely way to begin the holidays!

Night One @ WTL Fall 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 1:56 pm

I just returned from Raleigh where I had the honor of serving as Wake Forest’s official delegate to the installation of the new Chancellor at North Carolina State University. As you know, I love to dress up in academic regalia and march in medieval style. It was a grand occasion and I was glad to be there. Read about it here.

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