Building a collection of books, artifacts and ephemeral can not only be a scholarly endeavor but a personal love that lasts a lifetime. Often these collections find homes in academic and public libraries as gifts from the collectors. They are valuable archives that will not diminish in value as the world digitizes. In fact, their value increases as digitized collections can be used without the expense of traveling to where the collections are housed. But it cannot be ignored that viewing a beautiful binding with one’s own eyes, or feeling the pages of handmade paper cannot be replaced by images. The art of collecting books, and all things related to those books, is a needed one. To support this effort several organizations have joined (list of links below) to sponsor the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest recognizes college and university students for their work in book collecting in and effort to “encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles”. Several Universities and colleges support their own competitions with the winners then representing those institutions in the national event. But of course, why could we not have a collection of digital books as well? Will libraries move from walls and shelves, to digital tablets and apps?

The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest rules state: “A collection should reflect a clearly defined unifying theme or interest. It may incorporate ephemera, maps, prints, autograph material as well as books, either hard cover or paperback, as long as they are germane to the collection’s focus. How well a collection reflects the collector’s intent is more significant than either the number of items or the monetary value of the collection.” (rules)

The deadline for this year’s contest is May 31, 2013. An essay on the motivation behind, and the criteria for the collection is required, as well as a bibliography of at least ten titles that represents the collection.

The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

AbeBooks’ Reading Copy Book Blog

Fine Books & Collecting Magazine

The Library of Congress Center for the Book

The Antiquarian Booksellers

Kislak Foundation

Rosanna Alexander Blake’s personal collection
of confederate history at Marshall University

Dr. Charles A. Hoffman’s collection
of Medical Sciences at Marshall University


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