Bibliophiles Collect Prizes in Winesett Competition
The art of book collecting is all about possibilities, as the student winners of Radford University’s Winesett Book Collecting contest found out Tuesday.
First-prize winner Rachel Klein received $600 and a $100 gift certificate to Bookworm & Silverfish Booksellers for her entry "Vintage Volumes: My Book Collection." A second prize of $400 and a $100 gift certificate to Bookworm & Silverfish went to Kirstyn Montgomery for "My LGBT Collection." Spencer Bennington's "Books That Write the Author" and Annalea Krukowski’s "Once Upon a Time" won honorable mentions.
Klein's winning essay detailed the growth of her collection over the past two and a half years and her conversion from reader to full-blown bibliophile. "I'm so weird now," she said. "I like to smell the ink."
Speaking at the event on the third floor of McConnell Library was RU Provost Sam Minner, who described the importance of reading and collecting books in his own life. "I wanted books of any type," Minner said, referring to his childhood collecting. "They symbolized the possibilities in my life."
Minner closed by acknowledging the collectors. "I congratulate you, and I thank you for continuing this special and very important tradition," he said.
The Winesett Book Collecting contest is sponsored by McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections as a way to celebrate reading on the RU campus and recognize the special relationship many students have with their books.
Each entrant submitted a 1,000- to 1,500-word essay describing the creation and growth of the collection, an annotated bibliography of 20 books in the collection and a list of 10 books the contestant would like to add.
The entries were judged by a panel of five faculty members including Gene Hyde, McConnell Library Archivist and contest coordinator. Judges made their decisions based on the creativity and dedication shown in the collection, the quality of the contestant’s essay and the personal connection to the collection.
As the winner, Klein is eligible to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest for a chance at a $2,500 first-place, $1,000 second-place or $500 third-place prize. The national contest is held in the spring at the Library of Congress.
"I feel very confident that the winner can do well at the national contest," Hyde said.
Radford University held the first Winesett Book Collecting Contest in 2009 with funds from the Hazel Grove Winesett Endowment, the largest gift ever given to McConnell Library. Since then the contest has not only grown in size but attracted outside attention as well, Hyde said.
Two book vendors who have worked with the library heard about the contest and wanted to contribute. Lorne Bair Rare Books of Winchester provided money to increase the size of the prizes, and Bookworm & Silverfish Booksellers of Rural Retreat provided two $100 gift certificates for the first- and second-prize winners.
"This is the first year we have sponsorships, and they were completely unsolicited," Hyde said. "I only see this growing."
Books from the winning collections will be on display in McConnell Library through January and February.