Z. Smith Reynolds Library Annual Report 2020-2021

Message from the Dean

The past academic year tested the resolve, flexibility, creativity, and stamina of every unit on campus. The effort and teamwork across the university by our students, faculty, and staff was one of Wake’s finest moments. I am especially proud of the ZSR Library faculty and staff and the ways they were able to keep services and collections available to support the academic enterprise.

We started the year with most of us working from home with a core group of dedicated workers coming to campus to prepare ZSR for the fall. And we were delighted to see students return to campus, even with social distancing and numerous public health precautions in place. We became creative with our programming and reached new and broader audiences with many of our online programs.

Last year was also a time of transition for us beyond welcoming back students and coping with the challenges of COVID-19. Between July of 2020 and January 2021, six amazing ZSR employees retired representing 170 years of valuable knowledge and experience. These individuals helped shape ZSR as well as countless students, faculty, and staff.

I am extremely grateful for the efforts of all ZSR employees as well as our campus partners in information systems, student life, custodial services, and the many others who kept us going. And I extend profound thanks to my anchor in this storm, Provost Rogan Kersh. His leadership and the support of my fellow deans were exceptional in these extraordinary times.

Tim Pyatt, Dean
Tim Pyatt, Dean

Pandemic Edition Library, 2020-2021

We spent much of our 2020 summer preparing for the fall semester. We de-densified the Library from over 1,200 seats to 400 seats. We worked with Student Health and Environmental Health & Safety to determine the best configuration for social distancing and hours of operation. We also converted over 80 enclosed carrels and study rooms into single occupancy spaces that could be reserved. These proved popular with students needing a quiet place to take an online class. Our fall service changes lasted well into the spring semester. We were able to add some additional seating and reduce social distancing from six to three feet for spring finals.

  • Hybrid Teaching Preparation
    The four offices in ZSR’s Faculty Commons suite — the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), the Office of Online Education, IS Academic Technology, and the library’s Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communications team (DISC) — launched a Peer-to-Peer Learning Communities program to work with faculty throughout the summer in preparation for fall teaching. Offerings included online modules, workshops, and consultations on a variety of topics and tools, and structured peer faculty learning communities.
  • New Discovery System Launched
    After over a year of planning, we launched our new discovery and management platform, Alma/Primo, that replaced our 21-year-old enterprise system Voyager. The new cloud-based system allows better integration with campus systems and improved access to electronic resources.
  • Smart Lockers

    Our use of Smart Lockers to offer touchless and after-hours pick-up of library materials was profiled by Patterson Pope — and our faculty and students really love them.

    Smart lockers

  • Welcoming Our Students Back

    The ZSRasaurus welcomed students back and helped introduce the changes made to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff.

    ZSRasaurus video still

Library Instruction

First Year Seminar (FYS) Instruction
ZSR librarians co-taught 3 sections of FYS courses in academic year 2020-2021. Rosalind Tedford and Hu Womack co-taught “Mis/Disinformation on the Internet” as a hybrid face-to-face/online course, Amanda Kaufman and Meghan Webb co-taught “Information, Influence, and Neutrality” as a synchronous online course, and Kathy Shields co-taught “Crying Wolf: Storytelling and the Moral Imagination” as a synchronous online course.
Academic Research and Information Instruction (LIB100)
ZSR librarians taught a total of 27 sections of LIB100 courses to 396 students. Ten of these sections were online synchronous, and the others were online asynchronous.
Other Instruction
ZSR librarians also taught 4 sections of advanced research and special topic 200-level courses to 60 students. We taught 188 instruction sessions to students, faculty, and staff across campus involving over 4,000 participants. These ranged from library instruction for courses to training on our new discovery platform and ILS, Primo. Special Collections & Archives offered instruction via Zoom and Voicethread for 600 students.


With most folks working from home, we reached new and larger audiences with over 1,150 attending our virtual programs. Once our videos were published to ZSR’s YouTube channel we reached even more; recordings of our events have had over 2,500 views. Some highlights include:

ZSR Ambassadors

The ZSR Ambassador program provides undergraduate and graduate students with leadership skills, professional connections, project management, marketing skills and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the ZSR Library. The 2020-2021 cohort were especially helpful and worked with ZSR employees to:

  • Suggest ways to improve the student experience within ZSR Library by participating in monthly meetings and focus groups;
  • Publicize and work at library events as well as help advise on changes in services;
  • Promote library services and resources to students in residence halls, classes, and beyond.

ZSR Innovation Grants

To encourage continued creativity and innovation during the pandemic we launched the ZSR Innovation Fund for Library faculty and staff using unrestricted gift funds. Initial awards were:

  • Video Contest Support

    $510 awarded to Meghan Webb, Hu Womack, and the ZSR Ambassadors to purchase smartphone gimbals and mics for the contest. Themes for video submissions include:

    • What is the most helpful ZSR service you’ve used?
    • What is your favorite ZSR tradition / experience?
    • What ZSR means to you
  • Information Literacy workshop
    Integrating Information Literacy Skills in First Year Courses
    $2,000 awarded to Amanda Kaufman, Meghan Webb, Hu Womack, and Roz Tedford. ZSR faculty developed a one-year pilot program to grow WFU students’ information literacy skills by working with faculty of first year courses, first year seminars, and writing courses to further integrate information literacy skills into their course syllabi and assignments.
  • Little Free Library
    Little Free Library, Outreach Edition
    Funded the purchase of a mobile Little Free Library to be used at campus events.

Supporting ZSR

Despite being on the midst of a pandemic, we had a strong year of building support for ZSR. Highlights include:

  • A $100,000 gift to create an endowment to support Special Collections & Archives programming.
  • A $1,000,000 planned gift for the support of the library given by an emeritus member of the ZSR Board of Visitors.
  • The ZSR Board of Visitors established a fund for the Hatch Collection on Leadership and Character. This fund will have a dual focus on building collections on leadership and character as well as the history of religion in the U.S. in recognition of President Hatch’s scholarly contributions to both fields.
Songs of Wake Forest
Songs of Wake Forest Project
Dr. Dickie Newsome of the ZSR Board of Visitors, along with Jane Crossthwaite and Wake Forest classmates, helped raise funds to support the processing of Dr. Ed Wilson’s papers. Emily and Dr. Wilson (aka “Mr. Wake Forest”) were so touched by this gesture that they donated funds to expand the project to include the other Wake Forest luminaries eulogized in Dr. Wilson’s recent book, Songs of Wake Forest. We now want to expand the project to include a series of events celebrating the individuals that shaped our beloved university. We are planning programming (both in-person and virtual) for the 2022-2023 academic year – the year that Mr. Wake Forest will turn 100.

If you are interested in collaborating on the Songs of Wake Forest project, want to know more about the ZSR Board of Visitors, or any of our other initiatives, please contact ZSR’s Assistant Director of Development. Your support of ZSR Library is a gift to the entire Wake Forest family.

Make your donation to ZSR