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Collins Library Book Collecting Contest 2023

Book collecting contest 2023, old comic covers in the background.

Detail from poster by Sammy Schwindt, 2022.


The aim of this competition is to encourage full-time students at Puget Sound to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives, to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works, and to read, research and preserve the collected works for pleasure and scholarship. Collections can be on any subject and this contest is open to all full time students. The contest is offered every other year.


Sponsored by the Book Club of Washington and Collin's Library written overtop comic covers.

Detail from poster by Sammy Schwindt, 2022.

The Book Club of Washington generously funds two awards: $500 to a single collector and $250 for best essay. A third award of $250, the Collins Choice Award, is sponsored by the Collins Library. Applications are due March 24, 2023, no late entries are accepted. Please see below for application details and a link to our application form. All applicants are invited to a recognition event at the Collins Memorial Library in late April (details forthcoming).

What is a collection?

Collections on any genre or theme! written in a speech bubble overtop comic covers.

Detail from poster by Sammy Schwindt, 2022.

A collection consists of items that a student has come to own as a consequence of developing a particular interest, which may be academic or not. For this contest, a collection consists of no more than 30 items. The majority of the collection should be books, but related materials such as photographs, illustrations, maps, ephemera, CDs, music scores, posters etc. may be included. For example, a collection focusing on a dramatist might include a playbill or poster associated with a performance, a collection on birds might include illustrations, or a collection representing geography may include maps.

Collections can be on any topics. Subjects can be contemporary or historical and may stress bibliographical features such as bindings, printing processes, type, editions, illustrations, etc. Comic books and graphic novels will be accepted. Collections of ephemera alone if of historical interest will be accepted. Current textbooks should not be part of a collection, but historical textbooks may be included.

If you seek additional information or advice about book collecting, members of the Book Club of Washington are more than happy to consult with applicants. You can find more information about the Book Club on their web site:, or you can contact Collins librarian Nick Triggs.


Your application should include the following information in one single document.

  • A 2-4 page essay that includes:
    • Your name and email.
    • The name and theme of the collection.
    • How and why the collection as a whole was assembled.
    • How the items in the collection are connected, or relate to, each other and to the theme, and how they come together to build a cohesive collection.
  • Please note that the judges may wish to see up to at least five of the books in your collection, please be prepared to share the books if requested.
  • Either integrated within the essay, as part of the bibliography, or as a separate section of your word document, please include a selection of digital images of items in the collection.
    • Please include at least five images of representative books in your image selection.
  • An annotated bibliography of the items in your collection, in alphabetical order with each individual title numbered.
    • The annotations should reflect the importance of each item to the collection as a whole and how the item connects or builds on the other items in the collection.
  • An annotated “wish list” of up to five other book titles that you would like to add in the future to complete or enhance your existing collection.
  • Please submit this document via our 2023 application form.
  • Submissions are due by 5:00 pm, Friday, March 24, 2023.

Criteria for evaluation

  • The purpose of the collection is clearly stated.
  • Evidence of the connections between the items in the collection.
  • Evidence of creativity in building the collection.
  • Evidence of the importance of the collection to the collector.
  • Originality, innovation, and uniqueness.
  • Quality of the collector’s essay describing the collection and addressing these criteria.
  • Appropriate and complete citations with meaningful annotations.
    • Annotations should briefly describe the content of the item, and explain how the item addresses the purpose of the collection.
    • Citation style must be consistent, but can follow any style format (e.g. MLA, APA).
  • Must submit digital images of items in the collection.

Criteria for the Collins Choice Award

The Collins Choice Award recognizes a student whose collection illustrates the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education reflects an understanding of how knowledge is organized and interpreted while it imparts skills that foster a life of continuous learning.

The collection and essay should illustrate these concepts in addition to reflecting the passion and enthusiasm the student has for their collection.  Essays should introduce the reader to the inspiration for the collection as well as the process of collecting and how the individual works connect to one another.  This in turn reveals the creativity, critical thinking, and synthesis of ideas represented in the collection.

Contest Details

  • Students will be limited to one entry.
  • The student must be the sole owner of the collection.
  • A team of highly qualified judges from the campus and community shall determine the contest winners.
  • Collections along with the essays may be displayed in the library.
  • A reception to announce and honor contest recipients and award winners will be held late April, 2023 in the Collins Memorial Library (details forthcoming).
  • Applicants will be asked to display their collection (or portions of) along with their essay at the reception.
  • Winners from Puget Sound are able to enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting contest.

Please contact Nick Triggs, ntriggs@pugetsound, for additional information

A woman peruses books at the Daryagani Book Market, New Dehli. Under tents, books are spread out in rows on the ground, and are in stacks at other stalls. Many other people and book sellers are at the market.

Image credit: "Daryaganj Sunday Book Market in Daryaganj, New Delhi" by Pinakpani at,_New_Delhi_41.jpg is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.