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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, and all entries are welcome except past winning collections.

The annual competition is sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries and was endowed in 2007 by Betty and Edgar Sweren, longtime supporters of the Sheridan Libraries.

Did we mention prizes? 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

In addition to cash prizes, selected titles from the winning collections will be exhibited in the Brody Learning Commons. Winners will also receive a one-year honorary membership in the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries.

Awards will be presented to the winners in the spring of 2015. 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 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.
4. Although the focus is books, the collection may include other media that support the collection.
5. Collections can be on any subject. Past entries include Colonial America, feminism, running, and music. (See below for last year’s winners.)

Application Information:

Each contestant must submit:
1. A Cover Sheet including the title of your collection
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. Please include a second bibliography listing up to 10 items that you would like to add to your collection, with brief annotation stating the reason for adding each item.
5. Electronic entries should be submitted as one PDF document, including coversheet.

*Finalists may be asked to bring a portion of their book collection to the Milton S. Eisenhower Library for final judging. The winning entries will be displayed in the Brody Learning Commons. Top-prize winners of the Sweren contest are also eligible to enter the 2015 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.

The deadline to enter is Friday, February 20, 2015

Last Year’s Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest Winning Entries:

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize, Undergraduate Category: Kierra Anne Foley: From Egypt to a Baltimorean’s Bookshelf

1st Place, $1,000 cash prize, Graduate Category: Shawn Gude The 20th Century American Left

2nd Place, $500 cash prize, Undergraduate Category: Alexander Mui 100 Years of Narrative Art Through the Major Arcana

2nd Place, $500 cash prize, Graduate Category: Olivia Maj Sabee The Lives of Dancers: Marie Sallé to Gelsey Kirkland

Honorable Mention, $250 cash prize, Graduate Category: Rachael Cohen Representative Paired Archetypes of Rachael’s Fantasy Book Collection

Submit all entries by February 20, 2015 to:

Sweren Student Book Collecting Contest
Dean’s Office/Milton S. Eisenhower Library
Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
or via e-mail: libraryfriends@jhu.edu

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

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