A Library for the Whole Student: Creating a Multi-dimensional Culture of Health and Wellness at your Library
A Library for the Whole Student:
Creating a Multi-dimensional Culture of
Health and Wellness at your Library
Z. Smith Reynolds Library - Wake Forest University
Susan Sharpless Smith - Associate Dean
Mary Beth Lock - Director of Access Services
Meghan Webb - Reference Services Coordinator
Hu Womack - Instruction and Outreach Librarian
❏ Team up with others
❏ Review well-being dimension on worksheet
❏ Pick any dimension(s) you currently address in your
Library and tell us about them
❏ Pick any dimension(s) you have ideas for in the future
❏ Share your responses with the room
WFU’s Thrive is a comprehensive initiative that supports the University’s commitment to well-being as an integral part of the college experience and as an important component of its strategic goal to educate the whole person. WFU’s Thrive initiative focuses on eight branches of well-being - emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual. The program is modeled from Hettler’s “Six Dimensions of Wellness” which became the foundation of the approach now common in many higher education wellness programs. 
Our library’s interest in becoming integrated into this initiative is just one example of how it strives to support our institution’s mission. Z. Smith Reynolds Library was the university category winner of the 2011 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award. We were recognized for our strong institutional values and focus. “The selection committee was impressed with the strong alignment of the library to institutional values and ambitions as evidence through the variety of programs developed to support and foster student learning.”
Academic libraries can be an obvious choice to partner with campus well-being initiatives. As noted in Hinchliffe’s and Wong’s 2010 article, “the library has historically focused on the intellectual domain of student development by providing information resources related to the curriculum and services to assist with their use. By thinking about the library as a space and place, unique opportunities to contribute to the holistic development of students emerge. Students already use libraries to do much more than just study and conduct research... [An] approach to providing programming to address holistic student development is a natural outgrowth of students’ existing library use practices.” 
ZSR Library’s Director of Research and Instruction Services and our Outreach Librarian served as dimension coordinators for the Intellectual well-being dimension during the Thrive campaign kickoff in 2014, so the initiative has already established a connection to an academic library’s traditional role. We actively explore opportunities to make contributions to the other seven well-being dimensions of Thrive.
Until now, as part of its outreach effort, ZSR Library has regularly offered discrete programming and spaces that speak to well-being. Each semester since 2006 it has held “Wake the Library”, a weeklong program during exams that provides a midnight snack break for studying students and relaxation opportunities such as yoga classes. It participates in the University’s Biederman public spaces project by providing an outdoor reading room. In Fall 2014, the Library responded to a student group proposal by creating a “ZieSta Room” where students can take a break from studying and catch a short nap. It holds regular after-hours Humans v. Zombies events each semester. But until now, these efforts have not been part of an overall conscious program to further community well-being. Our goal is to collaborate with the Thrive group to build a formal framework for these initiatives and programs.
 Hettler, Bill. "Wellness promotion on a university campus." Family & Community Health 3.1 (1980): 77-95.
 Hinchliffe, Lisa Janicke, and Melissa Autumn Wong. "From services-centered to student-centered: A “wellness wheel” approach to developing the library as an integrative learning commons." College & Undergraduate Libraries 17.2-3 (2010): 213-224.
Partner in Thrive Initiative for Intellectual Wellbeing
promote lifelong learning at THRIVE events on campus
“free little library” give-away
Library Lecture Series
features discussions and presentations that support the current curriculum, addresses current issues and events, acknowledges and accentuates the current collection, and brings together the many diverse points of view found in our community.
Sources, Citations & Cocoa
drop-in research sessions
assist students with research in low-stress, informal environment-- treats and cocoa set up, come in and talk with us about what they are working on, what resources they need held help locating.
Librarians as Faculty Advisors (Amanda, Joy, Roz, Sarah, Hu, Mary Beth)
to help students achieve their potential as whole persons. We provide caring and timely individual guidance, connect students with resources, help students form relationships within the Wake Forest community, promote personal responsibility, and encourage an intentional personal journey.
largest student employer on campus (around 200 student assistants during academic year)
work study opportunities in a variety of work environments-- every department Access Services, Special Collections and Archives, Resource Services . . .
ZSR Bootcamp-- prepare our students for success
share our values-- exceptional service, intellectual freedom, privacy of information
Safety and Security
Diversity and Inclusion
gather, meet, connect with co-workers
WFU Fellows Program (Office of the President)
a year-long assignment in a particular department of the university, each Fellow has opportunities to interact with key administrators and faculty; to learn about various administrative areas of the university; and to participate in a series of leadership lunches and enrichment activities with leaders in the Wake Forest and larger Winston-Salem community.
ZSR involved since 2013, had 3 Fellows who have worked closely with Faculty, Staff, and Administration
Research and Instruction Internships
Allows graduate students in library and information science programs an opportunity to obtain experience for academic credit to enter into the profession of academic librarianship
The library’s environmental initiatives have taken two different forms, (and both of them actually pre-date our involvement with Thrive.) The library has taken a comprehensive approach to updating its aging infrastructure by doing small scale upgrades over a period of years. One such upgrade involves the replacement and upgrade of our HVAC units that will, when completed provide us with more efficient heating and cooling. Starting with a mid-century not-modern building, any improvements will pay off in both environmental and financial ways. The old atrium windows, installed when the library was expanded and the new wing was built in 1991, were replaced with new windows in 2013. When the time came for us to improve and renovate our atrium floor space, (the most heavily used space in the library) we wanted to find a solution that was beautiful, durable and easy to care for, and environmentally sustainable. Our solution: cork.
The second way that we impact the Environmental wellbeing of our students is to identify ways to help them reduce their own carbon footprint and reduce waste. During finals, we have big carafes of coffee available to students, and they help themselves to coffee for free, around the clock. Initially the students generated a lot of empty styrofoam cups. Fpr the last few years at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, we partner with the Sustainability Office at WFU to have a coffee mug giveaway. The mugs are purchased from Goodwill. The students choose a mug from a large selection,, and we encourage them to bring the mug back for their refills. We still have disposable cups available, but students have to ask for them. An environmentally minded student, who also worked in the sustainability office gathered cups disposed of in our trash to create an art exhibit on the wastefulness of the disposable cup. She had students sign pledges to remember to bring a mug instead of relying on a disposable cup. When the sustainability office was looking for a place to install a water bottle refill station that was high profile and would see a lot of foot traffic, they also partnered with us. We have promoted the idea that students should refill their water bottles rather than purchasing water in a bottle. Every little bit helps.
In the Financial branch of Thrive’s Wellbeing initiatives, the library has served as a place to hold events that support financial wellbeing for students. Because the library is a crossroads for all students, it is a good place to have a table like this one to give students information about their financial goals, and about issues related to their financial aid. The library classrooms are used for the end of the year loan counselling for graduating students. We partner with the bookstore at the end of the semester to allow students to sell books back to the bookstore while they are in the library.
We are always open to opportunities to contribute to the physical wellbeing of WFU students:
ZieSta Room Project. When the CHARGE! Emerging Leaders student group brought the library their idea for a place for students to take a nap, the idea was promising. MB and I worked with them to develop the proposal and then the Library underwrote the project. They proposed potential spaces and we selected a quiet area in the mezzanine of the 24/7 study room. We purchased 5 “industrial strength” recliners and commissioned a custom-built storage unit where students can securely charge their devices while they rest. The student group made the “rules” of the space.
This is a technology-free space.
No calls, texts or emails – use the charging lockers to secure any personal electronic devices or laptops.
This is not a study space. Please limit any reading to pleasure and take your work elsewhere!
Naps of all kinds are encouraged, but please respect other students and limit your time in the chair.
No monkey business.
Tidiness is a virtue. Please pick up after yourself.
Sit back, relax and sleep tight!
It was ready when students returned for Fall semester 2014. Students discovered it as the semester progressed and it caught the attention of WFU’s Office of Communication and External Relations. They did an exceptional job of putting it out to the media and stories appeared in Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed and USA Today College. The positive press was gratifying and was an affirmation that the project was a worthy one.
Standing Desks. This year one of the Charge groups worked with me on their proposal to introduce standing desks to classrooms and public spaces. We have installed standing desks in some of our faculty/staff offices so realize the benefits they can bring to the workplace. As a pilot, we have purchased a standing desk and placed it in our 4th floor reference area to see how students use it this semester.
Move from wood seating and inflexible tables to adjustable seating to accommodate different sizes/ and with lumbar support.
Flu shots. ZSR Library is a central, neutral location on campus where hundreds of students come daily. Offering flu shots at the library gives students a convenient evening option for receiving the shots. Starting last week until the end of the month, the Student Health Service is offering flu vaccines in the Z Smith Reynolds Library every Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 6:00-8:00 pm. Students do not need to make an appointment in advance; they will just show up on their desired evening.
Safety & Security efforts. We have focused our efforts to create a safe environment in ZSR Library. We created a Safety and Security Committee. They have developed emergency response and Contingency plans, conducted a privacy audit, attend training to increase capacity to respond to emergencies and then train library residents on these. They conduct regular inspecdtion walk-throughs of our facility to identify issues, created mobile response kits. If interested, you can read about our strategies in their chapter that was recently published in the Handbook of Research on Disaster Management and contingency Planning in Modern Libraries (Decker and Townes, eds, IGI Global)
Walking paths. ZSR Library has over 170,000 square feet in two wings that have multiple levels and lots of stairways. This fall, our fellow has mapped out (quarter, half and 1/10th miles within the library) walking paths through the library so students can track their activity miles during study breaks. We are creating “out and back” walking paths that encourage students to take a break, walk to another campus builiding and then come back to resume studying!
Soon after our last dean arrived in 2004, she was approached by the student government representatives about extending hours longer than the closing time of 1 am. We investigated what needed to take place to get this in place and converted a vacant position to a night manager supervisor. We have been 24/5 since about (2005?) throughout the academic year. We open at 10 am on Sundays and close at 7 pm on Friday (Saturdays are 10-7)
This change (tough for staff, loved by students) has made a big difference in students’ emotional wellbeing (we all know how the right snack can relieve stress!)
Wake the Library: What do students want at exam time? They want a place where they can study around the clock. This need was the genesis for Wake the Library. The first week-long Wake the Library was in 2006, before 24/5 hours were put in place. Library staff volunteered to keep the Library 24 hours a day throughout fall and spring exams. To add a bit of extra motivation, the Library provided students with a free food break mid-way through the night. Students immediately loved this event. Since then, the normal schedule has transitioned to 24/5, but the Library continues to provide food during exams and students are always enthusiastically grateful. In 2010, Wake the Library was named a new Wake Forest “tradition.” Wake the Library gives the Library a chance to demonstrate its interest in student success and experience, and helps it form a closer relationship to its users. It also helps subtly change students thoughts about what a library is and who the people working in the Library are.
New ideas are proposed and tried every semester, often at the suggestion of students and our ZSR Ambassadors.
Ice Cream Breaks
Pep Band at Midnight
Surprise visits from student dance groups, athletic coaches, police officers bearing donuts,
The Library as a third space beyond residence hall and classroom
Hit the Bricks
ZSR staff regularly create a team and participate
ZSR staff and ZSR Ambassadors participate
Capture the Flag & Humans v Zombies
We do these event once each semester and for various summer groups
No Library instruction, these are purely fun and social events
We’ve even done an Alumni Edition
Describe Summer Groups (LENS, BFF, SPARC and WWW)
ZSR secret decorating committee
Tradition began almost a decade ago
Like a “Friends of the Library” but with students
Friday Nights @ ZSR
Friday night social events
Spiritual, “Pro Humanitate” / Humanitarian
“We Stand for Unity and Respect” four weeks, Fall 2014
Winston Salem Pride parade float
When Pride came back to WS after a twenty year absence, ZSR funded the first WFU Float
Collecting canned goods for overdue fines
Diversity training for student assistants (Gatekeepers)
Volunteer from ZSR participated in week-long training to lead workshops on campus
ZSR Students, and RA Training
Safe Places Training for ZSR Staff