McConnell Library holds seventh annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest

Radford’s book lovers gathered on Tuesday, Nov. 18, to celebrate the winners of Radford University's seventh annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest and the “A Creative and Unique Collection of Spineless Volumes with Illuminated Pages" exhibit.

The contest is sponsored by McConnell Library as a way to celebrate reading on the RU campus and recognize the special relationship many students have with their books.

First-prize winner Madeline Murchie-Beyma received $750 for her entry "Hell is Empty and all the Broccoli is here: My Childhood Collection.“ Murchie-Beyma’s collection and essay will be entered into the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which carries a top prize of $2,500.


Denise Jenkins, Madeline Murchie-Beyma and Sharene N. Duncombe were the big winners for the seventh edition of the contest.

Second prize went to Sharene N. Duncombe for "Martin Luther, Ben Franklin, and Me," and the third prize was awarded to Denise Jenkins for "Historical Hobbies: My Collection of Crafting Books." An honorable mention went to Justine Jackson for her collection of graphic novels.

Winesett entrants submitted a 500 to 1000-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 faculty members who 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.

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.

Hazel Grove Winesett '38, a lifelong educator from Pulaski, is remembered as a modest woman who loved her community and to travel. Upon her death in 2002, Winesett left the McConnell Library an $820,000 endowment.

Her generous gift allowed the library to implement many projects, including the Winesett awards. In addition to the Book Collecting Contest and the annual Library Research Awards, the Winesett endowment has been used to help fund numerous initiatives, such as expanding resources and upgrading furnishings and equipment.

The Winesett Book Collecting Contest awards ceremony coincided with "A Creative and Unique Collection of Spineless Volumes with Illuminated Pages " exhibit. These unique "book sculptures" were made by students of Associate Professor of Art History Carlee Bradbury's History of Books class.

Bradbury challenged her students to create new book forms, without a spine, using the pages of books. Her class accepted this project whole-heartedly and created new, unique ways to show the books that had touched them. Some examples include an "ancient" clay tablet and wood box with incantations from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and a long, folding paper tube representing Eric Carle's classic "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

Work from students in Frank Napolitano's Medieval Literature class also displayed their work: their own attempts at recreating pages from a medieval manuscript complete with illumination and period-appropriate script.

Nov 18, 2015