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 is currently enrolled in Penn State Harrisburg's doctoral program in American Studies. 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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