Contest Rules and Submission Materials

College-Sponsored Contests

Each contestant must be a prizewinner, whether or not first prize, of an officially sanctioned American collegiate book collecting contest, with the award announced between September 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024.

  • If the college or university awards a top prize in two or more divisions (for example, a separate graduate and undergraduate prize), all division winners are eligible, even if not awarded the top prize. 
  • If a particular college or university does not hold a contest every year because the contest is biennial or quadrennial, a student from that school may enter only during the year the contest is actually held.
  • To be eligible, collections must have been formed and acquired solely by the contestant.

Deadline: entries must be postmarked no later than June 10, 2024.

Entries should be submitted here.


Direct Entry 
(For applicants whose colleges do not currently sponsor a contest.)

A collection should reflect a clearly defined unifying theme or interest. It may incorporate ephemera, maps, prints, autograph material as well as books, either hardcover 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.

  • A contestant must be enrolled in a degree program, undergraduate or graduate, in the United States not currently sponsoring a book collecting contest.
  • The contestant must be sponsored by a faculty member or by a member of the rare book/special collections department of the institution's library. The sponsor must review the contestant's entry.
  • The contestant must own all items in the collection.

Deadline: entries must be postmarked no later than June 10, 2024.

Entries should be submitted here.


Submission Materials

College Winner

  • Cover sheet: The cover sheet should provide the entrant’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, collection title, table of contents, and school affiliation. Additional contact information for the months of June, July and August should be provided if appropriate. 

  • Copy of collegiate entry: Each contestant should attach a true copy of the complete submission of their winning entry to their college or university's collegiate book collecting contest. It may not be amended, revised or augmented. 

  • Verification letter: Each contestant should provide evidence they are a prizewinner in their collegiate contest. This verification may be: 1) a letter on the letterhead of the college or university that organized the collegiate book collecting contest (or the department or organization within the school that held the contest) confirming the entrant has been awarded a prize in the collegiate book collecting contest; 2) a printout from an official website announcing the winners; 3) an e-mail from a contest organizer sent to providing the name(s) of the winners.

  • Optional materials: Contestants may submit additional materials to assist the judges. These materials may include information on collections or items not included in the winning entry, more detailed bibliographical details, photographs, or other materials. The submissions should not exceed five (5) pages.

Direct Entry:

  • Cover sheet: The cover sheet should include full contact information: name; e-mail address: college status; address and telephone number; permanent address and telephone number; title of collection; table of contents; name of sponsor and the sponsor's contact information.
  • Letter of recommendation: The letter of recommendation should be written and signed by the sponsor.
  • Essay: The essay should be two to three pages (1,000 – 1,500 words) in length stating the purpose of the collection, how the collection began, how and where the items were collected, highlights of the collection, and how the contestant envisions the collection will evolve.
  • Bibliography: The bibliography should include twenty or more items in the collection. Each item should be given a full bibliographic description. The bibliography may include physical details which the collector considers reflect special properties. JPEG, TIFF, or PDF images may accompany.
  • List: Provide a list of ten items which the contestant would like to add to the collection with a brief explanation of why.
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