Rolfing Unshelved

Books, news, and events from TIU's Rolfing Library

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Surveying for Change

We’re humbled (and pleasantly surprised!) that a recent Scrawl article gave a welcome “shout out” to the library. The article, “Memo to the Next President,” gave recommendations about how to improve the university. The first priority considered school operations, and encouraged the administration to survey students in order to learn what they think needs to be improved. The author observed, “Here the library deserves a special shout out: they solicit input every year (and even try to beat their previous record of responses!). I suspect some suggestions are good, some have already been tried, and some are impossible. Simply having the data, however, allows them to create accurate metrics of quality, discern changing needs, and be on the lookout for industry best-practices.”

Discerning the needs of our patrons has certainly been the library’s goal in conducting its surveys. We used the results of our recent surveys to benchmark our services against other university libraries and to determine our strengths and weaknesses. These surveys were also valuable for discovering what students care about and what they want to see changed. In addition, more focused surveys allowed us to solicit specific feedback on possible projects and improvements.

The surveys have affirmed what we do well here at Rolfing, yet have also identified problems. Thanks to a recent survey, we discovered that students gave positive ratings to the service provided by librarians and staff. One patron commented, “The staff are always helpful, courteous and wonderful. Any improvement needed is more on the side of resources and services.” (Thanks, dear patron!) This and other responses suggested that resources and the library building were the greatest areas of concern. Our surveys confirmed that students want access to a greater number of books and journals, both in print and online. Patrons also desire a more pleasant study environment: better lighting, more numerous electrical outlets, a more stable temperature, comfier furniture, and an inviting yet studious atmosphere.


Our new study chairs!

As the Scrawl article noted, it can be difficult to make needed changes in response to feedback. One of the major limitations for the library has been budget issues — all these requests cost money (crazy, I know)! Despite our financial limitations, Rolfing staff has worked to find innovative ways to move forward and make some of the improvements you’ve requested. For example, we can’t afford to redo the lighting in the library, but we can (and do!) provide desk lamps for students to check out. Other improvements include our coffee machine, a new vending machine, and a scanner. We’ve also recently purchased new furniture: study chairs, “comfy” lounge chairs, and laptop tables. Recently, we partnered with the GSGA to purchase and install whiteboards in our study rooms. We do hear your requests, and we’re striving to make improvements — albeit small ones — whenever and wherever possible.

Your input is crucial in identifying what changes we should make. We continue to value your critiques and comments, especially as the world of libraries and higher education changes. As the Scrawl article noted, feedback is the best way for us to improve. We always appreciate your suggestions —  keep ’em coming!

Rebecca Miller is Head of Public Services at Rolfing Memorial Library. If you have any ideas to share, please post a comment below or email Rebecca.

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Constitution Day

Constitutional Convention

“Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention” by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856)

Did you know that September 17th is Constitution Day here in America? Constitution Day, which was recognized by law in 2004, commemorates the day in 1787 when thirty-nine men — our Founding Fathers — signed a document that created the federal government of the United States of America.

The Constitution was a product of the Constitutional Convention, a grueling and contentious four-month-long meeting in Philadelphia. Here, the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin, debated how to create the three branches of the new United States government. The final product, the Constitution, eventually replaced the Articles of Confederation, a weaker document that had been ratified in 1781.


The Constitution

TIU is hosting a few events in recognition of that historic day. Here at the library, we’ve curated a selection of books and movies that relate to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. Simply stop by the display case in the front of the library to view what’s on offer. We’ve also built an online research guide that highlights some electronic resources about the Constitution. Additionally, Dr. Steve Fratt will host a gaming experience in Waybright at 6:30pm on September 17th. Join Dr. Fratt in Founding Fathers: A History Game and experience firsthand the political challenges that our Founding Fathers faced as they developed the Constitution.

The Constitution — the document itself — lives at the National Archives, which also house the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. You can explore these national treasures online. You can also read correspondence and documents that relate to the Founding Fathers at the National Archives’s Founders Online.

Happy Constitution Day to you!

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Bioethics at Rolfing

The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity is hosting its 20th Annual Summer Conference this week and through the weekend. The conference will investigate the impact of modern medicine, science, and technology on our individual and common humanity.

Rolfing Library has a growing collection of bioethics books and e-books. In honor of this week’s events at the CBHD, we thought we’d post a few new acquisitions. Enjoy!



Happy National Library Week!

It’s National Library Week, a week that the American Library Association sets aside every year to celebrate libraries across the country. In honor of the event, check out Flavorwire’s “25 Most Beautiful College Libraries in the World” post. Which library is your favorite? What college libraries have you visited that you would add to the list?

Here’s my addition:

Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. Flickr photo by Jeff Maurone.

Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University. Flickr photo by Jeff Maurone.

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Guest Post: Biblical Studies Tools

Do you have a paper to write for a biblical studies (Old or New Testament) class? Here are five sources that are often overlooked but can be very helpful.

bibtools11) Theological dictionaries. These dictionaries are outstanding sources of information. They contain, among other things, helpful introductions to the books of the Bible and topics surrounding their study. Equally important, however, are the bibliographies at the end of each article which can point you to resources for further study. Some of my favorites: The IVP Dictionaries on the various segments of the canon, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible and The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis.

2) Bibliographies in commentaries. In commentaries, authors will generally do more than offer their treatments of a passage; they will often leave you their trails of research in the form of bibliographies. Authors tend to use bibliographies to list sources that are worthwhile in doing further research, even if the author would not endorse the points of view in those sources. (By the way, if a commentary does not have a good bibliography you probably should not use it in your paper!

bibtools23) Historical theology sources. Modern advances in biblical studies have given seminary students and pastors wonderful tools to use in studying the Old and New Testaments. But it is tragic when modern interpreters forget that Christians have been reading Scripture for over two thousand years! The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament volumes) and The Reformation Commentary on Scripture are especially helpful in showing you the primary sources where you can explore how some of the brightest thinkers in Church history have understood Scripture.

4) Journals. Students tend to bury themselves in mounds of commentaries when doing exegetical work. As great as commentaries are, they can become outdated very quickly. Journals, on the other hand, are helpful in keeping you up-to-date with the most recent research. The ATLA database (available through the Rolfing homepage) can help you find articles on your topic or passage, many of which can be downloaded to your computer for free. What’s even better—the reference staff would be happy to help you learn to use the database!

bibtools35) Commentary surveys. Students occasionally approach us at the reference desk needing help finding good commentaries on a particular book. My first course of action is usually to recommend to them the commentary surveys by Tremper Longman III (Old Testament) and Trinity’s very own D. A. Carson (New Testament). These surveys give concise evaluations of the major commentaries on a given book of the Bible and tell you which commentaries are likely to be the most helpful (and which ones you should probably leave on the shelf!). You can find these surveys in print in the main and reference collections and they’re available in e-book format. The reference desk at the library also has copies that you can consult.

Guest blogger Lance Higginbotham is available at the reference desk to help you with your library needs during the following times: Mondays 6-9; Wednesdays 1-3, 6-9; Thursdays 6-9 and Fridays 11-1. Contact him at

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What’s New: Books on Pope Benedict XVI and the Papacy

The Pope has retired, the College of Cardinals are in conclave, and Catholics around the world are waiting anxiously to see a puff of white smoke billow from the chimney affixed to the Sistine Chapel’s roof. In response to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement, we’ve freshened up our history of the papacy collection with some recent publications by — and about — the now-retired Pope.

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week book cover

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week book cover

We’ve completed our set of Pope Benedict’s three-part series on Jesus of Nazareth: we added The Infancy Narratives (Image, 2012) and Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (Ignatius Press, 2011). Benedict, ever the scholar and theologian, offers here his commentary and insight on the events of the Gospels. The Holy Week volume is an especially compelling read this time of year, and Benedict notes its significance in his foreword: “…only in this second volume do we encounter the decisive sayings and events of Jesus’ life… [I have tried] to consider only the essential words and deeds of Jesus — guided by the hermeneutic of faith, but at the same time adopting a responsible attitude toward historical reason” (p. xvii). These books are so new to the library that we’re still processing them — please ask at the circulation desk if you can’t find them on the shelf!

My Brother, the Pope (Ignatius Press, 2011) is a memoir by Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict. Eighty-nine-year-old Msgr. Ratzinger is a Catholic priest, organist, and emeritus conductor of the famous Regensburger Domspatzen, Regensburg’s cathedral choir. In the memoir, he recounts childhood memories of his brother and narrates their shared experiences growing up in the Catholic Church and then answering the call to become priests. In fact, the brothers entered the seminary together and were ordained priests on the same day in 1951. The book spans over eighty years of the brothers’ lives: Msgr. Ratzinger’s memories of the day his little brother was born, his family’s anti-Nazi sentiments, his experiences fighting in World War II, the election of his brother as Pope in 2005, and beyond. The story is ultimately one of two brothers answering the call to serve the Lord, despite the trials and tribulations of National Socialism and war. Pick up My Brother, the Pope to discover the story of the Ratzinger brothers, their childhood in Catholic Bavaria, and their enduring friendship.

Medieval portrait of Celestine V by Niccolò di Tommaso

Medieval portrait of Celestine V by Niccolò di Tommaso

Finally, we’ve acquired Jon M. Sweeney’s The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation (Image, 2012). This book tells the story of Peter Morrone, the hermit-monk-saint who was elected to the papacy on July 5, 1294 and resigned only fifteen weeks later, on December 13 of the same year. Sweeney recounts the mysteries surrounding the pontificate of Peter, who took the name Celestine V, and the suspicious actions of his kniving successor, Boniface VIII. Celestine re-entered the spotlight after Benedict’s surprising announcement last month: newspapers and pundits immediately drew a connection between the 21st-century Pope and his 13th-century predecessor. In fact, many news sources pointed out that Benedict reverently laid his pallium (a Y-shaped ecclesiastical vestment worn over the chasuble) on Celestine’s tomb during a visit to L’Aquila in 2009. Want to learn more about this medieval pope and discover why Dante banished him to the antechamber of Hell in The Inferno? Check out The Pope Who Quit.