When Wanda Kay Brown began working at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library in 1977, it was a different place. For starters, there was only one wing to the building, and a parking lot was behind it. The card catalog was the primary method to discover library materials. Microfilm, paper indexes, and movies on 16 mm film were all the norm. Academic departments were still housed around the book stacks. Food was strictly forbidden. And finally, there were fifteen members of the library’s staff.
In 2016, ZSR has grown considerably. Two wings have provided more space to the students, faculty and staff of Wake Forest in terms of books, journals and DVDs. Online resources have long surpassed the usefulness of the card catalog. Spaces that stored objects have been repurposed to support people, such as study spaces, The Writing Center and The Bridge. Starbucks serves drinks and snacks to power students through their assignments. Now, almost sixty librarians and support staff assist the research needs of the campus community.
Wanda herself had taken on various roles during her career at ZSR. Starting as a student assistant, she became a cataloger, followed by head of cataloging, then head of technical services, and finally associate dean. She also became well known in library circles both locally and nationally, serving on various committees as well as in the capacity of president of the North Carolina Library Association and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
Now, after 39 years, we have said farewell to our friend and colleague as she begins her new role as the Director of Library Services at Winston-Salem State University. Although she isn’t in the building on a regular basis, she has many accomplishments that are her legacy here at ZSR. Her insight and institutional memory will serve her well as she begins her new role at her alma mater.
Here’s to you, Wanda. Your ZSR family loves you, and remember we’re just down the road!