The Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest is here! This annual competition, endowed by longtime Friends of the Libraries Betty and Edgar Sweren, recognizes the love of books and the art of shaping a thoughtful and focused book collection. All students enrolled in a degree program at Johns Hopkins are invited to enter, and cash prizes will be awarded for the top three entries in separate undergraduate and graduate categories.

Entries will be judged according to the coherency of the items in the collection and the extent to which the collection reflects the student’s stated goals and interests. All topics are welcome; past entries have included collections focused on pilgrimages, monsters, feminism, and wartime as recorded by soldiers.

To enter, students must submit a 2-3 page essay detailing the purpose of the collection, how it was started, and how it has evolved over time. This description should also highlight the items of greatest interest within the collection, as well as plans for the future development of the collection. In addition, students must include a bibliography of the collection (between 20-50 items) and a “wish list” of up to 10 items that the student would like to add to the collection.

In both the undergraduate and graduate divisions of the contest, the first place winner will be awarded $1,000; the second place winner will receive $500; and the third place winner will receive $250. Selections from the winning entries will be displayed on M-Level of the Eisenhower Library in late spring, and all winners will be eligible to enter the 2011 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest.

So peruse your bookcase and enter your collection in the contest! Submissions must be received by February 18, 2011. Visit the contest website to enter, to see past submissions, and for additional information. Good luck!

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