Book Writing contest ‘pays off’


Taylor Brock

The McConnell Library’s Archives and Special Collections Department is sponsoring the third annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest.

According to the McConnell Library’s website, the contest encourages reading by the opportunity to showcase personal collections.

Submissions from any full-time undergraduate or graduate student of RU enrolled this semester will be considered, and submitters will have a chance at winning the first prize of $400.

Entries must include a list of 15 to 20 hardback or paperback books from the submitter’s book collection, a creative essay of at least 500 words describing why the submitter collected the books, a list of 5 to 10 books he or she would like to add to their collection, as well as a cover letter.

It doesn’t matter what kind of books are in your collection.

“If you have a collection and you want to tell us about it we would love to hear about it,” said Gene Hyde, archivist and Appalachian collection librarian.

According to the McConnell Library’s website, topics and themes of an entered book collection can be can be diverse dealing with whatever subject fuels your passion to collect books.

Collections of electronic books, textbooks and library books will not be considered. All entries are due by Nov. 4. The winner of the Winesett Book Collecting Contest will then be eligible for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest with a larger monetary prize for winning.

This year’s judges include the archivist, Gene Hyde, two librarians, Alyssa Archer and Alison Armstrong, and two professors, Don Secreast of the English Department and Dr. Carlee Bradury of the Art Department.

Book collecting contests such as the Winesett Book Collecting Contest at RU are also conducted across the country at various colleges and universities. The first book collecting contest started at Swarthmore College in 1930.  Hyde learned of the contests three years ago after talking with an archivist in Chicago. He thought that it would be a great idea to begin a contest at RU.

Last year’s first place winner, Vanessa Morris, a graduate student, said her collection was titled “Signs of Our Ideas Only” and was a collection of books about books and words.  In her essay she highlighted the fact that most of her books were purchased in the bargain section of the bookstore.
“I decided to enter the contest because I thought I had a pretty solid collection of books, and winning money is always a plus when you’re a poor grad student,” said Morris.
Winning the contest, she said, gave her satisfaction because she could tell her friends and family that her habit of collecting finally “paid off.”

Morris said the contest helped her “realize that there are others who care as much about books as I do and it was nice to be brought together with those people.”

More rules and regulations regarding the Winesett Book Collecting Contest can be found at

Any questions regarding the contest can be directed to Gene Hyde at or 540-831-5692.