To encourage undergraduates to collect books, build their own libraries, and read for pleasure and education, Adrian Van Sinderen, Class of 1910, established two prizes in 1957. The Senior Prize is now $1,000, the Sophomore Prize $700. Prizes for Honorable Mention are awarded at the discretion of the judges.
The underlying purpose of the competition is to encourage students to build collections characterized by unity of field or subject. First consideration is given to discrimination and judgment in the selection of titles. Collections acquired solely for courses are not acceptable.
Collections may cover specific subject fields, such as history, biography, literature, philosophy, or the sciences; pertain to a particular interest within one of these fields; be formed for their bibliographical features (i.e., edition, illustrations, bindings, etc.); or represent an intelligently chosen nucleus of a general library.
Rare editions and fine bindings receive no extra consideration. Paperbacks are acceptable if there is evidence of worthwhile thought and purpose. Subjects of winning collections have included beekeeping, food writing, Virginia Woolf, African American literature, Buddhist scripture, the Esperanto language, architecture, Korea, poetry, Sherlock Holmes, and dance.
Application forms are available online or at a Head of College’s Office. In addition to the application form, please submit a list of books in the collection and a statement about the collection and how you acquired it. Please e-mail these documents to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm on Monday, 12 February 2018.
Selected collections will be examined by appointment before spring vacation: please be prepared to show the judges the most significant portion of your collection.
Judges: William Reese (chair), Joseph Agostini, Elisabeth Fairman, Basie Gitlin, Rebecca Martz, Miko McGinty, Stephen Parks, E.C. Schroeder, Claire Thompson ’19, and Sylvia Van Sinderen
Application deadline: 5 pm, 12 February 2018