University Libraries to provide return shipping for World Campus students

January 27, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries has collaborated with Penn State World Campus to develop a pilot model for covering the cost of return shipping of library materials for World Campus students. Effective Jan. 18,  World Campus students who have physical materials shipped from the University Libraries will receive a postage-paid return label they can use when they are finished with the items. Previously, students were personally responsible for covering the costs of shipping materials back to the Libraries.

“We know budgets can be tight right now, especially as students are pursuing their education and balancing many life responsibilities,” said Victoria Raish, online learning coordinator for the University Libraries. “The fact that we are launching this service after a very difficult year for everyone makes it even better.”

The pilot was made possible through a collaboration between World Campus and many departments within the University Libraries, with the support of Libraries administration. It was inspired by the Access Entitlement Principle articulated in the Association for College & Research Libraries’ Distance and Online Learning Section. 

“The World Campus Student Advisory Board provided the final push necessary to get this service launched, and for that we are grateful,” Raish added.

“This shipping model change helps to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for World Campus students,” said Meg Massey, University Libraries interim head of access services. “The coronavirus pandemic has created tremendous stress for our users, especially those studying at a distance. We hope this will ease some of the burden that online students may have been experiencing.”

Like all Penn State students, World Campus students have borrowing privileges for the Libraries’ materials that are available for checkout. Through the Interlibrary Loan service, students can request print materials from Penn State or other libraries, including titles not in the University Libraries’ catalog, and have them shipped directly to them wherever they are. Now, when students are ready to return their borrowed items, they simply pack the item in their own box or envelope, affix the preprinted return label included with the shipment and drop it off at any UPS location.

The return shipping model is being piloted for spring 2021 semester, with the possibility of becoming a long-term arrangement. Items borrowed or returned prior to Jan. 18 are not covered under the pilot program. For more information, visit the World Campus website or contact Raish at victoria@psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 23, 2021