A Thirty Year Update

The second article I wrote on a library related topic was published in 1990. I was in my first full-time professional job, at a community college, and researched library services to transfer students. There really wasn’t anything specifically on libraries or librarians and transfer students, so I expanded the research to what factors contributed to transfer student success and how they might relate to the library. It was, more or less, a literature review with a particular focus and interpretation.

The article got a little attention and I was thrilled to see my name in print. Then the moment passed. I moved on to another job and to other research interests. Once I set up a Google Scholar profile I would watch to see what got cited. There are reasons why monitoring citations can be productive. In this case, I noticed that in the mid-2010’s the article became more popular, over a quarter of a century after it was originally published. What was happening?

Libraries and librarians were studying transfer students more frequently and intensively. Since there weren’t a lot of articles out there mine was finding its way into other people’s literature reviews. So, when I saw a call for chapters on transfer student success I thought it might be a good way to close the circle. A younger colleague, Samantha Kannegiser, and I reviewed the current scholarship on libraries and transfer students. There is quite a bit out there now.

The chapter, actually more of a bibliographic essay, was included in the newly published Transfer Student Success: Academic Library Outreach and Engagement, edited by Nancy Fawley, Ann Marshall, and Mark Robison (American Library Association, 2021). If you will pardon the blatant ego involved, I was especially pleased to note this in the introduction:

We were thrilled when Julie Still, who wrote one of the earliest articles about the library’s role in advancing transfer student success (“Library Services for Transfer Students,” Still 1990) submitted a proposal  to write an updated overview of the literature with her colleague Samantha Kannegiser. Their literature review launches the book and provides a foundation of current scholarship on the topic. Readers who are new to this conversation will find their review a useful entry point. (p. xiii).

The editors are exceptionally kind in their description. The chapters in the book are all well-written and present useful research and program overviews. I see a lot of familiar names there, and some new names, like Samantha’s, that we will all surely be seeing a lot more of.

I don’t imagine I will write on this topic again. It is an important one, but my time with it has likely passed now. A number of newer librarians are doing good research in the area. It was just very exciting to see that something I wrote thirty years ago was still remembered.

About juliemstill

Julie Still has a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Missouri, and an M.A. in History from the University of Richmond.  She has completed coursework towards a doctorate in American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. Librarian by trade, writer by choice, once (and future?) Girl Scout leader and community participant, she reads history (all kinds), science fiction / fantasy (ranges from Scalzi to McKillip), mysteries (varied), and more.
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