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McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections presents the

Winesett Book Collecting Contest

Do you collect books?  Collect prize money!

Calling all RU Student Book Collectors!  To celebrate the great pleasures of reading and collecting a personal library, McConnell Library is launching the 5th Annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest. 


  • Gaiman BooksDo you collect books?  You could win up to $600 in cash plus a $100 gift certificate! 
  • $600 cash award for First Place plus a $100 gift certificate to Bookworm and Silverfish
  • $400 cash award for Second Place plus a $50 gift certificate to Bookworm and Silverfish
  • $150 cash award for Third Place. 

You don’t have to collect first editions or leather bound volumes to enter. All types of collections ranging from YA novels, science fiction paperbacks to banned books have been prize winners in past years.   The first place winner is eligible for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which carries a top prize of $2,500.


Prize money is provided by Lorne Bair Rare Books and the Winesett Endowment.
Gift certificate prizes are provided by Bookworm & Silverfish bookseller.





Entry deadline: Friday, November 8, midnight

Awards ceremony and Unbound Books Exhibition: Tuesday, November 19, 4 p.m.


Read about our previous winners!




2013 Winesett Book Collecting Contest Submission Guidelines:

Each submission must include the following:

  1. A list of at least 20 books from your personal collection, following this format:
    • Each book must be properly formatted in APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian citation style.
    • Each book must have two or three sentences describing why it is an important part of your collection.
  2. An essay stating the purpose of the collection, how the collection began, how and where the items collected, highlights of the collection and how the contestant envisions the collection will evolve. Read the guidelines below for more information.The essay must be 1000 -1500 words. Creativity is encouraged!
  3. A list of at least 10 more books that you don't own, but would like to add to your collection, along with a brief explanation of why.
  4. Fill out the submission form (deadline has passed for 2013) and follow the directions on the form. Then click "Submit Application" and you've entered! (You will see a "Thank You! The following information has been submitted...." message.)

Timetable for 2013 Winesett Book Collecting Contest:

  • Friday, November 8, 2013 - midnight - Deadline to submit submissions. Submissions should be submitted online using this online submission form. (deadline for 2013 has passed)
  • Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 4:00 PM - Award ceremony and prize presentations, Third Floor, McConnell Library.


2013 Contest rules and regulations:

  • Submissions will be judged based on the creativity and thoughtfulness exercised in developing the collection, the strength of the essay, and what the collection means to the owner - not on the academic or "literary" quality of the books in the collection.
  • The contest is open to all full-time undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at Radford University during the Fall 2013 semester.
  • The books must be the owned by the student and be part of his or her personal collection at the time of submission. The collection can contain hardback and/or paperback books, but no library books, textbooks, or electronic books are allowed.
  • The essay should address the following:
    • What is the purpose of the collection?
    • How did you start the collection?
    • How did you become interested in this topic or theme?
    • How did you go about finding these particular books?
    • What are some of your favorite books in the collection, and what makes them special?
  • Topics and themes can be diverse, encompassing literature, history, science-fiction, fantasy, natural history, astronomy, memoirs, criminal justice, Virginia history and culture, vampires, economics, the Beatles, travel books, popular novels, mystery novels, eco criticism, short story collections, women novelists, the American Civil War, American poets, Beat writers, books on sports – whatever subject that fuels your passion to read and collect books.
  • The theme can be as broad ("My collection of novels") or narrow ("My collection of books about the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson.") as you like.
  • Submissions will be judged using this criteria (from the National Book Collecting Contest): " Judges will award prizes based on the intrinsic significance, innovation and interest of book collections as presented in entrants' descriptive essays and bibliographies. As part of the judging process evaluations will be made of the entrants' understanding of their collections' subjects, their use and citation of previously-published bibliographical materials, and their knowledge and appreciation of the items in their collections both for content and as objects of craft.  The judges will also consider how collections may help preserve material that could otherwise be lost or forgotten, and the potential of collections to expand and evolve.  Age, rarity and uniqueness of items will be assessed independently of monetary value."
  • Contest winners will be required to let McConnell Library borrow 10 books from their collections for display. Books will be displayed in a locked case in the library during January and February, 2014. We'll show off your collection!
  • A panel of five judges will review the submissions. The judges include library faculty and staff and teaching faculty.
  • Three prizes will be awarded: a first place prize of $600 and a gift certificate, a second place prize of $400 and a gift certificate, and a third place prize of $150.
  • The deadline for submissions in November 8, 2013.

    For questions, comments, or information, please contact Bethany Mott,, or 540-831-5694.

    Gift certificate prizes are provided by Bookworm & Silverfish bookseller.


    Prize money is provided by Lorne Bair Rare Books and the Winesett Endowment. To learn more about the Hazel Winesett please refer to "Hazel Grove Winesett: The Best Friend," a biographical essay by retired University Librarian David Hayes.

    Neil Gaiman's books
    Some of the books in Neil Gaiman's personal collection.

    The photographs of Neil Gaiman's library are used with the kind permission of Kyle Cassidy.


    Visiting the Archives and Special Collections

    For information or to arrange an appointment to visit the Archives please contact

    All photos are from the Radford University Archives