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Collegiate University

Wake Forest University defines itself as a collegiate university. This is:

“a place where essential questions and contemporary issues are studied and debated in an environment of intellectual freedom and humane concern, within and across all disciplines; and a place where undergraduate liberal arts curricula and graduate and professional school programs are mutually enriched by collaboration and mentoring.”

It occupies a unique position between a small, personal college and a large and productive research institution. As such, the Library bridges these two communities as well. It aims to offer a personalized and hands-on experience while still supporting the rigorous research expectations and needs of faculty and students.

The motto of the University is “Pro Humanitate,” or “for humanity.” This is reflected on every page of the institution’s website as “Serving Humanity Through the Pursuit of Knowledge.”The Library also embodies this ideal by working tirelessly on outreach and by offering community programs to further knowledge and share campus resources with the larger Winston-Salem community.

At the completion of the most recent strategic plan, Wake Forest University laid out a comprehensive mission statement that emphasizes the teacher-scholar ideal, a diverse learning community, educating the whole person, and the goal “to be a place where a vibrant and diverse learning community weds knowledge, experiences and service that lift the human spirit.” Further, the University crafted a vision statement comprised of five points that the Library uses to guide any project or service it offers.

Wake Forest aspires to

  1. Emphasize exceptional teaching, discovery, and student engagement within a dynamic academic community;
  2. Integrate the intimacy of an undergraduate liberal arts college with the academic vitality of a research university;
  3. Become a crossroads of discussion on the important national and international issues of its time;
  4. Attract a diverse community of the brightest educators and students from throughout the country and world;
  5. Link intellectual curiosity, moral reflection and a commitment to service, shaping ethically informed leaders to serve humanity.

The Library strives to meet all of these goals under its simple mission:

“The mission of the Z Smith Reynolds Library is to help our students, faculty and staff succeed. We do this by providing unparalleled service in managing, delivering and teaching the use of scholarly content and information technology.”

Mission Statement of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library from ZSR Library on Vimeo.

This mission does not focus on a specific metric or information container. Instead, it focuses on service and doing whatever it takes to help the Wake Forest community succeed. The Z Smith Reynolds Library faculty and staff does this in a number of ways, from traditional and innovative librarianship, to spending the night giving out food to hungry students during exams, to working with different constituencies across campus to represent technology and student needs, to sending a team of librarians to build a Habitat House.