Would people describe you as a bookworm? Perhaps more accurately, a book boa constrictor? Do the works of Chip Kidd decorate your apartment rather than posters? Do you have more Billys than an Ikea warehouse? Or maybe you hang out every weekend at Book Thing?

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions (and you’re a student), you may be interested in submitting your book collection to the 2013 Student Book Collecting Contest. It could get you some real nice prizes. Like money. That you can use to buy prizes.

Full details are below.

The Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest 2012-2013

About the Contest:

The Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest recognizes the love of books and the delight in shaping a thoughtful and focused book collection. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a degree program at Johns Hopkins are eligible to enter. All entries are welcome except past winning collections.


The competition includes a graduate and undergraduate division and winners in each division are awarded:
• $1,000 First Place
• $500 Second Place
• $250 Honorable Mention
• Display of selected titles from the winning collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library
• A one year honorary membership in the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries
Awards will be presented to the winners spring, 2013. All contestants will be notified by mail of the names of the contest winners.


Each entry will be judged on the extent to which the items in the collection form a coherent pattern of inquiry and/or represent a well defined field of interest. Additionally, consideration will be given to how well the collection reflects the student’s stated goals and interests.


1. Any student, undergraduate or graduate, enrolled in a degree program at the Johns Hopkins University (Schools of Advanced International Studies, Arts & Sciences, Carey Business School, School of Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health and the Peabody Institute of Music) is eligible to enter.

2. All items must be owned and collected by the student who enters the contest.

3. A collection need not consist of, or include, rare or valuable books.  Paper-bound books may be included.  Although the focus is books, the collection may include other media that supports the collection.

4. Collections can be on any subject. Nonacademic subjects are welcome (past entries include Colonial America, Feminism, Running, Music, and more).

Application Information:

Each contestant must submit:

  1. 2013 SBC cover sheet
  2. A 2-3 pages essay outlining:  the purpose of the collection, how you started the collection, how the collection was assembled, the items of greatest interest, ideas for the collection’s future development.
  3. A bibliography of 20 or more items (maximum of 50) in the collection.  Each item should be numbered, given a full bibliographic description, and briefly annotated as to its importance to the collection. Please use the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition.
  4. A wish list – A second bibliography listing up to ten items that you would like to add to your collection, with brief annotation stating the reason for adding each item.

* Finalists may be asked to bring a portion of their book collection to the Eisenhower Library for final judging.  The winning entries will be displayed on M-Level at the Eisenhower Library. Top-prize winners of the Hopkins contest are also eligible to enter the 2013 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS) and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division. First place, 2012 Graduate Winner, Kevin Baggot Roberts, a JHU English Master Candidate, won the 2012 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest essay prize for his entry “Cheap Thrills: Sex in American Publishing, 1924-1970”.

Entry Deadline: Friday, February 15, 2013

Last Year’s Betty and Edgar Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest 2012 Winning Entries:

Undergraduate Division

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize: Sandhira Wijayaratne Moralistic Humanitarianism and Africa

2nd Place, $500 cash prize: Audrey Swanenberg  – The Green Thumb Collection: A Future Farmer’s Book Collection for Practical Knowledge

Graduate Division

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize: Jennie Kay Hann – Books about Books: A Meta-Collection

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize: Kevin Baggot Roberts – Cheap Thrills: Sex in American Publishing, 1924-1970

2nd Place, $500 cash prize: Hannah Joy Friedman  – Classic American “Funnies”

*Two participants both deserved a second prize, so an honorable mention was not given.

Submit all entries to:
The Friends of the Libraries Book Collecting Contest
The Milton S. Eisenhower Library
The Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD  21218
or via e-mail: libraryfriends@jhu.edu
or by fax: (410) 516-5080

Please direct any questions to Shellie Dolan at 410-516-8992 or libraryfriends@jhu.edu

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