Author Archive

Hours for Spring Break

March 6, 2012

New e-Reference Titles Added!

January 13, 2012

Ramaker has added a number of new electronic reference books to our collection:

These e-reference books are great places to start your research.  Check them first for a general overview of a topic, for key issues related to the topic, and for bibliographies of related works.

To see a more complete list of our e-reference books, visit the Reference Resources subject guide.

Resource: History in Dispute

January 9, 2012

When researching current issues, our NWC students have always appreciated the point-counterpoint structure of CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints. That same discussion format is now available in the History in Dispute series.  This time, though, the topics are ones of historical importance, rather than contemporary ones.

History in Dispute allows you to look at differing perspectives on major historical issues. Coverage is broad, including issues from antiquity all the way through the late 20th century.  Some examples of essays are:

  • Were the Crusades Motivated Primarily by Economic Considerations?
  • Did Adolf Eichmann Receive a Fair Trial?
  • What was the Effect of Large Dams in the American West?

To use this tool, simply enter keywords for your search in the search box at the top of the page. You can also see all the titles in the series by mousing over the book covers; clicking on a specific title allows you to browse the topics covered in that volume.

Get your camera ready!

November 28, 2011

This week, take a few minutes & grab a shot of your favorite study space on campus, then upload it to our Facebook page. This contest is super easy to enter, and we’re giving away some great prizes — $25 gift cards! You don’t want to miss this one.

Click here for all the details.

Thanksgiving Hours

November 21, 2011


Ramaker’s hours for the Thanksgiving holiday are:

Tuesday, November 22: 7:30am – 5pm
Wednesday, November 23: 8am – 4:30pm
Thursday, November 24: Closed
Friday, November 25: Closed
Saturday, November 26: Closed
Sunday, November 27: 6pm – 12am

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fresh Popcorn – Right Now!

November 18, 2011


We just popped some corn . . . come help yourselves!

Favorite Study Spaces Photo Contest — Enter Now!

November 16, 2011

Starting on Wednesday, November 16, Ramaker is hosting a Favorite Study Spaces photo contest.  It’s easy to enter:

  1. Take a photo of your favorite study / learning spot anywhere on campus.
  2. Like Ramaker Library on Facebook.
  3. Post your photo to our Facebook page by Thursday, December 8.  When you post the photo, be sure to enter the appropriate category; you may enter photos for more than 1 category.

We are awarding prizes in 3 categories:

  • Most creative
  • Most group friendly
  • Most unique spot in the library

Each category winner will receive a $25 Wal-Mart gift card.  Nice!   Have fun with this — we look forward to seeing how and where students learn.

NOTE: All images uploaded to Ramaker Library’s Facebook page become the property of Northwestern College. Photos may be used and shared as deemed appropriate by library staff.

Religion in America

November 14, 2011

Are you curious about religion in America?  The US Religious Landscape Survey provides answers to many questions about contemporary religious beliefs and practices.  The survey covers religious affiliations, frequency of prayer, church attendance, scripture interpretation, and more.  All the information is presented using eye-appealing graphics, and the data is easy to decipher.

The US Religious Landscape Survey is presented by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which itself is a site worth visiting.  The Pew Forum looks closely at how religion intersects with politics and public issues, gathering its data from extensive nationwide surveys.  One feature that may particularly interest students is the section on topics; Pew reports on the various sides of current issues such as evolution and bioethics, showing how and why religion shapes citizens’ views.

Get Your Google On!

October 26, 2011

Everyone knows how to Google, right?  This new guide from Ramaker will show you other tricks you can do in Google, such as using it as a calculator, a dictionary, or a sports reporter.  The guide also covers some of Google’s special applications such as Google Documents and Google Sites.

Check it out at http://nwciowa.libguides.com/google.

Laptops are Back!

September 14, 2011

Our laptops are back in the library and available for checkout. If you want to use a laptop, just stop by the circulation desk. They can be used anywhere in the library for up to 3 hours at a time.

Encyclopaedia Judaica

September 10, 2011

This summer Ramaker Library added the Encyclopaedia Judaica to our online encyclopedia collection.  This encyclopedia is one of the best sources for information on the Jewish faith and people, and it contains over 20,000 entries.  In print, the encyclopedia is 22 volumes, which gives you an idea of just how extensive the coverage is.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica makes many “best of” reference lists, including Library Journal’s Best Reference Sources for 2007.  Some entries include maps and illustrations, and the research and scholarship is excellent.

Use this source when you need information on anything related to Jewish history, Jewish customs and traditions, contemporary Jewish life, and Israel.

New Encyclopedias Tab

September 6, 2011

We recently added a 4th tab — Encyclopedias — to the search box on the library home page.



This tab is a great place to begin research on any topic.  Just enter a term in the search box on the tab to search the majority of our electronic reference collection. While this tool does not search everything we have available, it does search a broad selection of titles in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.


After you do a search, you’ll be directed to a page of results.  Simply click any title to read the full article.

You may notice how the results come from a variety of different encyclopedias.  The Gale Encyclopedia of Science will have a more general coverage of the topic, while Chemistry: Foundations and Applications will provide more in-depth insight into the chemical processes of global warming.

Also on the Encyclopedias tab is a link to Guide to Reference Resources by Subject:

This guide compiles the best print and electronic reference resources for each discipline.  Be sure to check out this guide when starting your research; it will show you some excellent reference sources.

We hope this new addition to our site helps you access our reference resources more easily and conveniently. If you have any questions, please ask a librarian

More titles are now available in JSTOR

August 29, 2011

Ramaker Library now offers even more journal articles through JSTOR.  This past summer, we added two more collections in the Arts & Sciences area, plus we added the complete Life Sciences collection.  New disciplines covered include biology, education, and nursing. Because of its broad range of coverage, JSTOR can be used for almost any discipline.

JSTOR, one of the library’s most-used databases, is popular for a number of reasons:

  1. It includes full-text articles.
  2. It has broad coverage; while the most recent years (typically the past 3-5 years) are not available through JSTOR, most journals begin coverage at Volume 1, Issue 1.
  3. Only scholarly journals, not newspapers or general magazines, are indexed.
  4. It covers a wide range of disciplines, include arts and humanities, education, natural sciences, and social sciences.

If you have any questions, please contact the library.

Staff picks for summer reading

May 16, 2011

One of the best parts about summer is getting to read things you choose to read, rather than things that are assigned.  (Not that assigned readings are all bad, but choice is nice too!)  If you’re looking for ideas, here are some of our favorites:

Cover of 90 Minutes in Heaven90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
Recommended by Denise Sneller

This is a moving story about a pastor who dies instantly in a car crash and goes to heaven. He is greeted by a welcoming committee of friends and loved ones who have already died and gone to heaven. The sights he sees, things he hears, and the experience of being in heaven is more wonderful than anything he has ever experienced.  It is an amazing account of the “outer gates” of heaven.

At the same time that the author is experiencing the glory of heaven, a man on earth is praying by his broken body, and at that moment, Don Piper is brought back to earth. For months, as he lies in a hospital bed wracked with pain, he wonders why God has not allowed him to stay in heaven, and why he must go through the agony of months in the hospital and a total of 34 surgeries. But he does return to be with his family, and God uses him to bless others.

This is a life-changing story and anyone who has doubts that God still speaks to people and performs modern-day miracles will emerge with a stronger faith. It’s also helpful for those who live in suffering, with daily chronic pain, or for those who wonder if there is hope for an afterlife. Don Piper’s story will encourage readers that life must continue beyond tragedy, and that the kingdom of heaven is real and is waiting for all believers.

Cover of The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Recommended by Greta Grond

The Glass Castle is a memoir about growing up in extreme poverty. The author’s father is often absent and an alcoholic, and her mother is incapable of meeting her children’s needs.  The four children, smart and resourceful, are left to take care of themselves, each other, and their parents.  The writing is clean and honest, and the author candidly discusses personal experiences that were humiliating and shameful.  Upon finishing, I found myself wondering about many of the book’s themes:  how we exercise the will to survive, how devastating addiction is, and how love grows even in the most dysfunctional of families.

Cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Recommended by Anne Mead

This debut novel recalls the German occupation of the Channel Islands and those living in London immediately after WWII. The book, told in the form of letters between the people on Guernsey Island and Juliet Ashton, a journalist in London, was very enjoyable. Their correspondence revealed stories of hardship, starvation and isolation under Nazi occupation as well as the formation of the literary society and the joys they had in sharing literature. For me, the greatest delight comes from the “quirky, loveable characters”, I wished I’d known them myself. I highly recommend this novel.

Cover of The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Recommended by Heather Sas

In the historical fiction book The Help, Kathryn Stockett offers readers a glimpse of life in Mississippi during the early 1960s.  With believable characters, Stockett writes about human relationships amidst the Civil Rights Movement.  I loved how the story was written from the perspectives of three different women and enjoyed seeing the world through their eyes.  The beautifully descriptive writing drew me in and made me feel like I was right there.

Cover of The Master and MargaritaThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Recommended by Tim Schlak

Considered by many critics to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita is a satirical tour de force that lambastes Stalinist Russia, its suffocating bureaucratization, and fervent atheism. Where the Soviet state and its guardians cannot permit God, they are forced to recognize Satan, who in the Russian tradition plays a decidedly different role from his Western counterparts as a force of evil that ultimately brings about good. Combining Stalin, Satan, Jesus, Pontius Pilate, a poet and his lover, demonic minions, various literati, bureaucrats and a big black cat, Bulgakov’s masterpiece weaves three threads—a love story between a poet (The Master) and his soul mate (Margarita), the misadventures of Satan’s retinue on a visit to Leningrad, and Christ’s crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate—to form a seamless work of fiction, fantasy, satire, philosophy, history, and theology that is as deeply religious as it is entertaining and easy to read. An absolute must read!


Cover of The Story of Edgar SawtelleThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Recommended by Sherri Langton

A gripping plot, fascinating characters, rich and beautiful language.  All of these come together to tell the intriguing story of Edgar Sawtelle, a boy who was born mute.  The family, coping with intense grief and caustic envy, is torn as Edgar is forced to flee his own home.  Can he ever return?  Can he ever be safe again?


Cover of What the Dog SawWhat the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
Recommended by Anita Vogel

This book is an entertaining compilation of Gladwell’s nineteen brilliantly researched and provocative essays previously published in The New YorkerWhat the Dog Saw is filled with a variety of back stories about quirky subjects such as the secret of Heinz’s unbeatable ketchup and the history of women’s hair dye advertisements. Gladwell is a gifted writer with the ability to capture fascinating personalities while inviting the reader to think and think again. This is a perfect book for busy people-you can read one of his delightful essays in 15 minutes. Other books by Gladwell in our library collection are: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

Cover of ZeitounZeitoun by Dave Eggers
Recommended by Kalie VanderZyden

Dave Eggers interprets the events that occur to Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his family during and after Hurricane Katrina. The Zeitouns are a well-known and trusted family from New Orleans. As the threat of Hurricane Katrina looms, Zeitoun stays in New Orleans to protect their company and the rest of his family finds safety in another city. While helping his community during the aftermath, of the storm, he is arrested because they believe his devout Muslim Faith and Middle Eastern heritage to be a threat.  His faith, heart, and integrity are inspiring..  This book opens the readers eyes to little known events that occurred after Katrina and changes the way we view others.


A celebration for Denise

May 11, 2011

Denise Sneller
Please join us today at Ramaker from 10 – 11:30 am for a recognition reception for Denise Sneller.  Denise has served Ramaker Library for 21 years, greeting countless students at the circulation desk and supervising hundreds of workstudy employees.  We will miss Denise greatly, but we wish her the best for her retirement.