Always start your research from the library homepage, which is your gateway to a wealth of research resources. Here is a sampler of what you’ll find.
- Journal Articles
- Resource Guides
- Getting Help
Books are valuable tools for research. Their comprehensive nature can help you learn about new subjects or provide you with greater depth of understanding for subjects you have already studied.
- E-Books – Covenant’s growing e-book collection is accessible anywhere and includes some biblical commentaries in addition to academic titles from a variety of fields of study.
- 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.
- WorldCat – 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 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 requested through interlibrary loan.
Using the Covenant Seminary Library
Covenant’s Digital Loan service allows students outside the St. Louis area to request books from the Library’s print collection and get online access to a digital copy for a fixed check-out period. See our guide to Digital Loan to learn more.
If you just need a single chapter or essay from a book, you can use the Interlibrary Loan Request form to get a scan sent to you.
In addition, whenever you’re in St. Louis, you’re welcome to check out books from the Library. Books check out for 4 weeks and can be renewed twice by phone or online for an additional 4 weeks each time. That’s up to 12 weeks total. When the books are due back you can simply pack them up carefully in a box and mail them back to us.
Using a Local Seminary or College Library
Covenant is a member of two reciprocal borrowing networks: the Atla Reciprocal Borrowing Program and the Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) Reciprocal Borrowing Program. Through these programs, Covenant students are entitled to on-site borrowing privileges at any participating library. Check the maps below to see if there is a participating library near you.
- Atla Reciprocal Borrowing Program. Loan policies and ID requirements vary by library, so use the contact information provided to find out more before you visit. The library you visit will likely need to contact the Covenant library in order to verify your enrollment before you can check out books, so anticipate a 24-hour waiting period.
- ACL Reciprocal Borrowing Program. Contact the Covenant library to obtain a signed authorization form before you visit a library.
Using Your Local Public Library
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 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, publisher, date, etc.) 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.
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.
Finding Journal Articles
While you are enrolled in classes you can access our full collection of online databases from anywhere in the world. If you would like to browse all the databases that are available, then check out the full list on the library homepage. You can narrow that list to a particular subject area of interest, such as Religion and Theology, Counseling and Psychology, or Education.
Some of the most important databases available are:
- Biblical Studies & Christianity
Getting Journal Articles
Many of our online databases contain an extensive selection of full-text articles that you can view online, download, or print. If an article listed in a database does not appear to be available, click the “Find Full Text @ Covenant” button to check for availability in the library’s other databases and e-journal subscriptions. Still no luck? Click the “Request Interlibrary Loan” link to request that a copy be emailed to you from another library or Covenant’s print periodicals collection.
If you have a reference to a journal article from another source, a friend, or a syllabus, search our Journal A-to-Z list using the journal title to see online availability options.
See also: About Interlibrary Loan.
- 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.
If you need help with research for your coursework, thesis, or dissertation, the library staff will be glad to help.