Alumni who live in the St. Louis area are welcome to use the Covenant Seminary library. Ask at the circulation desk to get a free Alumni card, so that you can check out books from our collection. Also, feel free to make use of any of our electronic resources while you’re on campus. Unfortunately, we cannot extend to you MOBIUS or ILL borrowing privileges, nor off-campus access to electronic resources besides the ATLA Religion Database (see below).
If you live outside the St. Louis area, here is a directory of resources and services that we can recommend to you:
Find Journal Articles
Journal articles give you focused information about a particular topic, and are often the best way to get the most up-to-date research. They are excellent sources for doing original research on a topic, and are also a great complement to what you find in commentaries.
- ATLA Religion Database – The Buswell Library is pleased to provide our alumni with continued access to the premier index in the field of religion and theology, which includes a growing collection of full-text content. Search for articles, essays, and reviews based on topic or Scripture citation. Includes the full archive of Presbyterion. Log in to the Alumni Portal for access.
- PubMed – Scholarly index of life science and behavioral science journals for health professionals, produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many articles are available for free through the PubMed Central archive or other open access sites.
- Google Scholar – Google’s index of scholarly books and articles. Some content is open access, but beware exorbitant per-article access fees from major publishers. Use your local library’s interlibrary loan service (see below) to avoid pay-walls.
Books are valuable tools for continuing education. Their comprehensive nature can help you learn about new subjects or provide you with greater depth of understanding for subjects you have already studied.
- Covenant Library Catalog – Although you may not live close enough to the Covenant Seminary Library to visit us in person, our catalog is a powerful research tool for finding high quality books. Our collection is maintained by a staff of theological librarians and is designed to serve the diverse needs of students studying theology, Bible, counseling, and education. It is a treasure trove of valuable resources, so dig in.
- WorldCat.org – Once you find it in our catalog (or if you want to broaden your search to a worldwide scale), search the world’s largest library catalog—WorldCat. Combining the catalogs of nearly every library in the United States and many libraries around the world into one database, WorldCat.org will track down the book that you’re looking for and find it in a library near you.
- Research in Ministry (RIM) – Looking for dissertations specifically? RIM is a catalog of doctoral dissertations from seminaries and divinity schools in the United States and Canada, including Covenant. Covenant’s more recent dissertations are available online through our catalog. Similarly, for dissertations from other schools, check for access through the school’s catalog or digital repository. Otherwise, dissertations can be obtained through interlibrary loan (see below).
- Covenant Seminary Reference Guides – The Covenant Seminary library maintains a variety of subject and commentary guides, which highlight important books and reference works.
- Websites on Religion – An annotated guide to online resources for the study of religion and theology. Includes websites, syllabi, texts, journals, bibliographies, liturgies, reference resources, software, etc. Maintenance had lapsed around 2014, but it has recently been taken over by the American Theological Library Association, so expect updates soon.
- Congregational Resource Guide – Provides annotated resource recommendations that address the specific, practical needs of congregations and their leaders. Includes articles, websites, news sources, organizations, books, periodicals, special reports, online topical explorations, learning pathways, etc.
- Review of Biblical Literature – Presents reviews of books in biblical studies and related fields. A project of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Using Your Local Library—Interlibrary Loan
Although your local public library may not have a finely honed theology section, it is still a valuable resource for your research needs. Libraries like to share, so any book or article that you need can most likely be obtained by your public library through Interlibrary Loan—usually at no or little cost. Just take the complete citation (title, author, source, date, pages, etc. as applicable) to the Reference Librarian and ask about requesting the item through Interlibrary Loan. Be aware, however, that an Interlibrary Loan request can take up to two weeks to arrive in most places, so put your requests in early.
Tips and Suggestions
- Ask about ILL at your library’s reference desk, not at the circulation desk (the place where you check out your books). The reference librarians are typically the ones who handle ILL requests for the library.
- If your local library is part of a library system (e.g., a county-wide public library with several branches), take your requests to the Headquarters or Main Branch. The headquarters is usually the hub through which your ILL items will travel, and it can sometimes take as long for an item to make its way between the headquarters and your branch as it does for the item to get to the headquarters from the lending library. The staff at the headquarters may also be more knowledgeable about the various services that are available to you.
- Introduce yourself to the librarian that handles ILL at your library. Explain who you are and what you are doing and ask what would make it easier for them. Even this small attempt to get to know them will put a face with your name and often will bring better service from your library.