Olivet University's Ralph D. Winter Library (RDWL) has evolved from a private collection of 5,000 books donated by former Chancellor Dr. David Jang into a repository of mission resources in hardcopy and digital formats, and multiple languages. Olivet University's library was named after renowned missiologist and the University's Honorary Chairman, Dr. Ralph D. Winter, in July 2007. The Ralph D. Winter Library features 150,000 physical and electronic items for Biblical higher education and research.
True to its namesake, the Ralph D. Winter Library at Olivet University is envisioned as a world-premier repository for academic and theological resources in multiple formats and languages in service for world mission. Its extensive collection of educational resources distributed throughout the University's main library, the William L. Wagner Mission Library, the Asian library, and seven specialized libraries supporting Olivet's educational programs.
The majority of items in today's Ralph D. Winter Library were acquired in the last five years. This dramatic growth was prompted by several key decisions: adopting the current course reserve system; the library committee's restructuring; and grouping learning resources by seven disciplines: theology, music, journalism, graphic design, information technology, and more recently, business and language studies.
The move to broaden the collection by language placed special emphasis on Christian resources in the East Asian languages of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A donation of 1,000 Korean language books by Dr. Jang comprised the first holdings of today's Asian Library, launched in 2006, featuring Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language volumes.
In 2005 a generous donation enhanced the Library's specialized collections. President of Olivet University Dr. William Lyle Wagner contributed nearly 1,000 resources to the library, giving rise to the William L. Wagner Missions Library, inaugurated in 2006, with a variety of print and video mission resources.
The Ralph D. Winter Library continues to explore ways to fulfill its service mission to better support Olivet University's total curricular offerings, especially with media and electronic resources. Successful collaboration with Olivet ministry affiliates has enabled the University to make remarkable progress to this end, including the inauguration of a Media Library in 2006.
The hallmark of these achievements is the aggressive growth of the web-based Ralph D. Winter E-Library, which supports the needs of Olivet's online learning community with an E-library that provides access to multiple information resources, including secured access to licensed products. Developed with input from the United States Center for World Mission (USCWM), the E-library has enabled all students regardless of their location to access one large college collection of print, non-print, e-books and full-text database resources, as well as links to juried Internet sites. In this way, students studying at Olivet enjoy access to hundreds of databases indexing periodicals and scholarly journals, including thousands of journals provided in full text.
Today's Ralph D. Winter Library is a full-service library with various sites, based in Olivet University's campus. It offers students wide-ranging reference services, as well as a place to study and to participate in group discussions. The library system also features state-of-the-art computer workstations where students can conduct research, access library databases, and browse the World Wide Web. Internet access is available on computers equipped with wireless adapters through a secure wireless network.
The Ralph D Winter Library was dedicated at Olivet University on September 10, 2007 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of the late Dr. Ralph Winter, one of the world's foremost mission strategists. Dr. Winter was named one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in Time Magazine in 2005.