Transforming for our transfers: the creation of a transfer student services librarian

Lisa R. Coats (University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA)
Anne E. Pemberton (University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 14 August 2017



This paper aims to describe the unique library, research and information literacy skills that transfer students need, specifically at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, which led to the creation, recruitment and appointment of a Transfer Student Services Librarian at William Madison Randall Library (Randall Library).


Along with a brief review of the relevant literature, this paper describes the specific needs that were identified that led to the creation of the position; the unique gaps in information skills that transfer students have; how the university was addressing the needs of transfer students; how the library became focused on the needs of this population of students; how the library began collaborating with campus partners to address these needs; and, to date, how the position has impacted transfer students.


An increase in the number of transfer students from community colleges, four year institutions and military service combined with the institution’s information literacy curriculum requirements, led to the creation of a new position called “Transfer Student Services Librarian”.

Practical implications

Academic libraries wishing to explore the creation of such a position, or wanting to assess their own institution’s needs for their transfer student population, will benefit from this paper.


Few, if any, libraries have adopted a position specifically for transfer student services and this paper addresses how to assess the need and decide on practical applications for other academic libraries.



Coats, L. and Pemberton, A. (2017), "Transforming for our transfers: the creation of a transfer student services librarian", Reference Services Review, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 485-497.

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