Ella Wagar became a children’s librarian at NYPL in 1907. She later took a leave of absence to attend the NYPL Library School and received her diploma in 1916. In 1923 she became the Acting Branch Librarian at the Kingsbridge Branch. The following year, Wagar became the Branch Librarian at the Tottenville Branch on Staten Island.
Once pensions for librarians were enacted in 1937, those over 70 years old required special permission to continue working. In 1938, the library determined that Wagar “cannot, of course, be retained” after her 78th birthday and so she retired from Tottenville later that year.