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.

Did we mention prizes?

The competition includes a graduate and undergraduate division, with winners in each division are awarded:

• $1,000 First Place
• $500 Second Place
• $250 Honorable Mention

All winners also receive a one year honorary membership in the Friends of the Libraries; winning collections will be displayed in the Brody Learning Commons in late spring.

Entries are 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 is 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 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. Past topics include Colonial America, feminism, running, and music.

Each contestant must submit:

  1. 2014 cover sheet
  2. A 2-3 page 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 of the Brody Learning Commons. Top-prize winners of the Hopkins contest are also eligible to enter the 2014 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.

The deadline to enter is Friday, February 21, 2014. UPDATE: The deadline has been extended to Friday, February 28, 2014. Good luck!

Last year’s winning entries:

Undergraduate Division

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize- Undergraduate Category: BoettcherThe Publication of American Values and the Formation of “Nation,” 1870-1915

Graduate Division

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize- Graduate Category: Amanda ZeccaFrom Berkeley to Black Mountain: Avant-Garde American Poetry, 1945-1965

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize- Graduate Category: Elisabet PujadasDeconstructing Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Submit all entries to:

The Friends of the Libraries Book Collecting Contest
The Dean’s Office/Milton S. Eisenhower Library
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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