Meet a Deac – Mary Beth Lock

For some reason, yesterday’s Daily Deac, Wintry Wednesday, didn’t appear to go out via email.  Here’s the link if you want to catch up.  Of particular interest might be the ‘how to learn about weather-related closings or delays‘ item.

The snow started late afternoon yesterday. We didn’t get a lot of it, maybe an inch, but it was enough to make the roads messy enough for the local school district to cancel school for kids today – so I am home with the Class of ’27 today (and likely tomorrow, since the real weather event is supposed to happen tonight).  This morning’s prediction is that we might get 4-8″ of snow total; check the weather here.  I bet your students are gunning for a snow day tomorrow.  Two long weekends in a row would be clutch.

The mom instinct in me has to say this: please, please remind your students to be mindful of their safety if we do get a lot of snow.  North Carolina does not have the same small army of salt trucks and plows that northern or midwestern cities have.  Sometimes main roads get plowed (but little else), and people drive on the snow, pack it down, and then it refreezes.  Side roads may not get plowed at all.  Urge your Deacs not to drive in bad weather.

We have an event planned for tomorrow night that I hope doesn’t get canceled – it’s Humans vs. Zombies in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.  Students use Nerf dart blasters to take out the zombies in the library – it’s a lot of fun and a good way to let off some steam after a long week.  Students can learn more and register online here (look for the register link at right).

Humans vs. Zombies is a great example of the crack staff of the ZSR reimagining what a college library can be. Far from being the quiet place where you study (and get “shushed” if you talk too loud), the modern college library is a happening place.  And ZSR is one of the very best in the land.  In fact, in 2011, the ZSR was named the winner of the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries award in the university category. The award recognizes the accomplishments of librarians and library staff as they come together as a team to further the educational mission of the institution. This award is like winning the Superbowl or the Oscar for Best Picture – it’s a huge deal.

So as we await the snow, today’s Meet a Deac features Mary Beth Lock, one of our outstanding librarians.


MaryBethWhat is your official job title and what does it entail?
Director of Access Services, Z. Smith Reynolds Library.  I oversee the operations of the Access Services department in ZSR.  Access Services includes Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, Course Reserves, Stacks Maintenance, the Media Desk (ie. DVD desk), ZSR Delivers (our delivery service for faculty) and Offsite Storage.

I also share responsibility for ensuring the maintenance of the physical building, so I participate in conversations about refreshing and renovating the space, and fixing what has gone wrong as quickly as possible. Much of my job is in making sure that the needs of the students and faculty are being met.  Increasingly, that means having focus groups to find out what our students, faculty and staff really want out of the library building and its services.

How long have you worked at WFU?
I’ve worked here since November of 2007.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years!

How would you characterize Wake Forest students?  What are some common attributes they have?
Wake Forest students are very hard workers and they have very high ideals.  They also have very high standards, which keeps those of us in the library on our toes!   The library works hard to keep ahead of the students’ rising expectations.  It’s invigorating to work in this environment, serving a student body that pushes us to provide always greater service.

What advice would you give to students?
Study hard.  Don’t leave those papers to the last minute.  Come to the library because we’re here to help you and we know how to.

What do you like best about working at Wake Forest?
The collaboration with the staff in the library enables us to get so much done.  There is always creative energy in this place and it pays off in the ways we can provide greater service to the students, faculty and staff.  Everyone here truly lives the ideal that “it is not about us, it’s about them.”  It’s amazing how freeing that can be, and how much you can get done when you have creative thinkers around the table who don’t care who gets the credit for a good idea.

Now to my favorite – the fun questions!

Book you’re reading now: In non-fiction I’m reading Conquering the Impossible: My 12,000-Mile Journey Around the Arctic Circle by Mike Horn.  It’s the story of this adventurer’s trip walking, sledding, kayaking, and sailing around the world above the Arctic Circle.  His writing is inspiring as the reader learns of his struggles to stay alert and alive in this very harsh environment. It also serves to make one thankful for days when temperatures dip down only to 20F since he routinely managed to survive in 40F below zero! In fiction I’m reading Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. It’s a fictionalized accounting of the two women (one the photographer and one the photographed) involved in the taking of the most iconic photograph of the Great Depression. The writing is delightful.  The story is fascinating. Reflecting on those most desperate of times gives perspective to our current unpredictable financial situation.

adele 25What music are you listening to these days:  Funk to Motown to Classic Rock to Pop.  My most recent musical acquisition is Adele’s 25. I actually bought it for my 14 year old daughter, but secretly, I wanted to have it for me!

original-star-wars-castFavorite movie:  Either Star Wars (the original) or Casablanca.

Website you frequentHuffington Post,, ZSR’s website, CNN.  I also love for the most accurate weather forecasts.

Guilty pleasures:  Chocolate after dinner, and a glass of red wine with it. [You’re a woman after my own heart!!]

Favorite place to be on campus:  Walking around it when the weather is fine.

What don’t most people know about you: I love to cook when I have all the right ingredients and have the time. My culinary experiments sometimes fail, but that doesn’t prevent me from trying again! (We keep the local takeout numbers handy.)


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