A few days before Ellen Makaravage’s retirement on January 29th, the Communications Committee thought we would ask her 5(ish) questions about her years at ZSR!

1. What brought you to Wake Forest University?

My husband, Jim, was transferred to Winston-Salem with Piedmont Airlines in 1987. Less than a month later, it became US Air. I graduated from the University of Michigan the year before we were married and I knew that I wanted to work in academia. I liked the rhythm of the semesters and being surrounded by people pursuing knowledge. So after graduation I got a job at U of M, then moved to Florida and worked at Valencia Community College.  As soon as we moved to Winston-Salem, I pursued a job at Wake Forest University. My first WFU job was as a secretary in the Continuing Legal Education Office at the School of Law when it was in Carswell Hall.

2. Did you think when you came to Wake Forest University that you would stay 25 years?

Actually, I did. It was the only place in Winston-Salem that I really wanted to work. I did not anticipate working in the library. While I had worked in the library in high school, I had not thought of working in one after college. After I stepped out of work for 7 years to stay home with my sons, I was able to get a part time job at the WFU Professional Center Library in 1998. It was there I learned how well librarianship matched my love of logic and I was able to obtain my MLS degree online at North Carolina Central University. Shortly after graduating in 2008 I wrote a letter to Lynn Sutton about my interest in working at ZSR. She referred me to Wanda Brown and in October of 2008 I began working in Interlibrary Loan for Cristina Yu. I’ll always be grateful that they gave me the opportunity to come to ZSR.

3. During your time at WFU what has been the biggest change?

I think the biggest change I’ve seen since I arrived at WFU in 1987 is in the focus of the university. At that time WFU was a homogeneous, locally-focused campus. Watching people from all over the world come in and WFU reaching out has been a wonderful experience. I’m encouraged by what I’ve witnessed over the years.

4. What is your most memorable ZSR moment?

A memory that really makes me smile is the joy in ZSR when it was announced that Tim Pyatt was hired as our new dean. Everyone was so excited and we gathered for a champagne toast in the lounge.  In contrast, I’m remembering my colleagues who passed during my years at ZSR. Sadly, we lost Cristina Yu and Patty Strickland both of whom I really enjoyed working with and counted as friends.

5.1 What are you looking forward to doing most once you have more time on your hands?

Not surprisingly, I plan to organize things. I have my mother’s genealogy papers and zillions of family photos that I would like to put together into a usable format. And, when we can, we plan to travel as much as possible. We’ve been to all 50 states and there are several I would love to visit again.

5.2 What is the best piece of advice you have for new ZSR employees?

My advice would be to get involved. There are ZSR committees, campus opportunities (Campus Kitchen, Staff Advisory Council, Faculty Senate), area organizations (TALA, Bookmarks), area conferences (Entre Lib, SERS+SC) a state association (NCLA), and national library associations (ASERL, ALA). Participating in these opportunities has been an important part of my time at ZSR and I’d encourage everyone to attend, or help plan, or contribute, or participate as much as they can.