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2019-20 VCU Student Book Collecting Contest Submission Period

A stack of books.





All VCU students, undergraduate and graduate, are invited to submit to the VCU Student Book-collecting Contest, which recognizes students who have developed thoughtful and purposeful collections of books, manuscripts or other material textual works.

A panel of judges will select one undergraduate and one graduate winner. Judging will be based upon how well the collection has been developed, how well it is justified and how significant or unique it is (monetary value or rarity of the items in the collection is irrelevant).

The winner of the undergraduate award will receive a $200 cash prize, and the winner of the graduate award will receive a $300 cash prize, courtesy of Black Swan Books. In addition, selections from both collections may be put on temporary display at Cabell Library.

View last year's winners, Franscesa Lyn and Jessica Schuler, on Flickr.

Submission Requirements

Submissions to the contest must include:

  1. A cover sheet
    • Include your name and email address.
    • Specify undergraduate or graduate.
    • Give your collection a title.
  2. A brief essay (2 pages) describing the nature, scope and rationale of the collection
  3. An annotated bibliography of no more than 15 items from the collection
    • Each entry in the bibliography must use MLA format in describing the item, followed by three to five sentences explaining the significance of the item to the collection.

Submissions (cover sheet, essay and bibliography saved in one PDF) must be sent to by Friday, Dec. 6. Winners will be announced in early 2020 and will be required to photograph a selection from their collection for a digital exhibit.

Incomplete or late submissions will be disqualified.


The contest is sponsored by the Friends of VCU Libraries, the VCU Department of EnglishVCU Libraries and Black Swan Books.


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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