Supporting Transfer Student Success
The Essential Role of College and University Libraries
by Peggy L. Nuhn and Karen F. Kaufmann
November 2020, 184pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-7316-4
$75, £56, 65€, A102
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7317-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Teaches libraries to realistically support transfer student success by ensuring that students have essential information literacy skills.

This research-based book with practical applications teaches academic librarians to support their transfer students effectively at both universities and community colleges, even when transfer students’ information literacy needs differ from those of other students.

Colleges and universities across the United States serve a large and growing population of transfer students. Current estimates suggest that more than one third of college students transfer from one institution of higher education to another at least once. At some institutions, transfer students compose up to fifty to sixty percent of the new incoming class. Academic librarians’ understanding of the demographics and potential needs of transfer students is essential to supporting their success and mitigating “transfer shock.”

Just as public libraries often bridge gaps between individuals and services, academic libraries can proactively support the often unique needs of transfer students by spearheading textbook affordability initiatives, developing innovative programming, and making appropriate referrals to non-library student services. In this practical guide to supporting transfer students, authors Peggy L. Nuhn and Karen F. Kaufmann teach academic librarians how to optimize information literacy instruction, support research, help reduce stress, and connect the library to virtual students. They emphasize the importance of establishing partnerships with feeder institutions and other campus departments to best support transfer student success.


  • Teaches academic librarians and stakeholders to understand the holistic value of the academic library to transfer student success
  • Defines the concept of “transfer shock” and explains how academic librarians and libraries can mitigate this phenomenon
  • Outlines key theoretical and practical applications of information spaces, information science, and information literacy as applied to the transfer student academic experience
Peggy L. Nuhn is a "Connect" faculty librarian at the University of Central Florida's Sanford/Lake Mary campus, a joint campus with Seminole State College of Florida, where she teaches information literacy for university and college students. Nuhn is a graduate of the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute, has served on the board of the Florida Library Association, and has presented on student information literacy and the importance of librarian collaboration for transfer student success at statewide and national conferences. She holds a BS in business management from Franklin University and an MLIS from the University of South Florida.

Karen F. Kaufmann is a research and instruction faculty librarian at Seminole State College of Florida. Kaufmann has served as the postdoctoral research assistant for the Gateway PhD Program School of Information at San José State University. Her research interests include information literacy, information fluency, user relevance, and user information experience. Kaufmann holds a PhD in information science from Queensland University of Technology and an MLIS from the University of South Florida. Kaufmann was a Beta Phi Mu International Library and Information Studies Honor Society recipient of the 2017 Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.


"For those at institutions with clear articulation agreements and/or significant transfer populations. . . this book will be of immense value. Moreover, given the authors' expertise in information literacy and their treatment of this topic within the book, librarians engaged in library instruction, regardless of whether or not they interact with transfer students on a regular basis, will benefit from reading this book. Supporting Transfer Student Success stands out as a must-add title."—Public Services Quarterly, October 6, 2021

“Transfer students will use the information resources and library services (both in-person and virtually) at almost all college and university libraries. Nuhn and Kaufmann present research-based content with examples of practical applications. Academic librarians can implement these best practices to effectively meet the information literacy and critical thinking needs of transfer students—an important component of student success!”—Gail M. Staines, University Librarian, University of Central Missouri

“This work by Nuhn and Kaufmann emerges from dedicated librarians who had a history of focusing on transfer student needs before transfer was trending. I do hope readers will enjoy, as much as I did, exploring and learning about transfer students’ challenges, the uniqueness of various populations, the difference between andragogy and pedagogy, and the ‘no-excuses support’ of one model institution.”—Cynthia M. Kisby, Personnel Librarian, Former Head, UCF Connect Libraries, University of Central Florida, from Foreword

"Transfer students can be the invisible population in higher education, and—for a number of reasons—many can be at risk. This work provides explicit and workable solutions for libraries and librarians to reach out to transfer students in meaningful ways. The strategies included in the book offer creative solutions that can be used to reach these students and improve their chances for success. This is a vital work that should be read by academic librarians as they work with a potentially vulnerable group of students."—John M. Budd, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri
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