December 3, 2009 — The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia is seeking entries for its biennial Student Book Collecting Contest. The contest is open to all regularly enrolled U.Va. students, undergraduate and graduate. Contestants submit a full descriptive list of their books and a short essay about their book-collecting interests.
Cash prizes will be awarded: $300 for first place, $150 for second and $75 for honorable mention. More than $600 worth of gift certificates from several local booksellers also will be awarded, including Blue Whale Books, The Book Broker, Brillig Books, Clover Hill Books, Daedalus Book Shop, Franklin Gilliam: Rare Books, Heartwood Books, Jerry Showalter, Bookseller, L & T Respess Books, New Dominion Bookshop, Oakley's Gently Used Books, Oliver & Co. Books, Read It Again, Sam, and the U.Va. Bookstore.
The first-place winner also will receive the opportunity to take a tuition-free class at U.Va.'s Rare Book School, and is eligible to compete for the national Book-Collecting Championship prize of $2,500. Selections from winning collections will be displayed in the Small Special Collections Library during the Virginia Festival of the Book.
The Student Book Collecting Contest has been held at the University since 1949 and is one of a handful held at American universities. Recent winning collections in the U.Va. contest have focused on physics textbooks; Victorian serial fiction; children's series books, such as the Hardy Boys books; artists' books; Central African literature; flip-books; books about Generation X; and Dare-Devil comics and graphic novels. Last year's winner, Jaideep Singh, was featured in a New York Times slideshow highlighting student collectors.
Judges consider collections on the basis of coherence of focus, method of collecting, progress made in creating the collection, and the quality of the explanation of the collection's focus. Where appropriate, the quality of the description of the books – that is, of the physical characteristics such as binding, cover decoration, and illustrations, and bibliographical features such as format, printing and publication details – is taken into consideration. Collections are not judged on dollar value or size.
Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 16 and should be mailed to Anne Ribble, Executive Secretary, Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia; PO Box 400152; Charlottesville, VA 22904. For information, visit the Society's Web site.