February 22, 2010 Library of Congress to Co-Sponsor National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

Program Encourages College Students to Become Bibliophiles

Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Susan Benne, Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, (212) 944-8291

The Center for the Book and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America and the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies have jointly assumed leadership of the National Collegiate Book-Collecting Contest, with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

Established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections magazine to recognize outstanding book-collecting efforts by college and university students, the program aims to encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles. The magazine conducted the annual competition program before turning over leadership to the new collaboration of institutional partners.

Book collections, for the purposes of this competition, must be based on some unifying principle, such as subject, a single author or group of authors, or place or genre of publication. Collections are judged on their substance and scope, rather than on size, rarity or financial value.

Entries for the 2010 competition must be submitted by June 4, 2010. Each contestant must be the top prize-winner of an officially sanctioned American collegiate book-collecting contest held during the 2009-2010 academic year. Competitions are held at more than three dozen colleges and universities across the United States. For contest rules, judging procedures and criteria, prizes, a list of more than 30 colleges and universities with collecting contests and a book-collecting bibliography, go to hq.abaa.org/books/antiquarian/abaapages/contest/.

The Library of Congress will host the awards ceremony and a lecture on book collecting on Oct. 15, 2010. (Details of the ceremony and lecture will appear in a future news release.)

In 1815, the Library acquired the personal library of Thomas Jefferson. Later collectors such as Lessing J. Rosenwald, John Boyd Thacher and Otto H. Vollbehr, among many others, conveyed their book collections to the Library, where they continue to be conserved by the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. More recently, the Library received the gift of the Jay I. Kislak Collection of rare books, manuscripts and other early American materials. Selections from the Kislak Collection are on view in the “Exploring the Early Americas” exhibition in the Thomas Jefferson Building, as well as online at myloc.gov/Exhibitions/EarlyAmericas/.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries, as well as the scholarly study of books. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division has custody of nearly 800,000 books, broadsides, pamphlets, theater playbills, title pages, prints, posters, photographs and medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The division’s holdings encompass nearly all eras and subjects. Its collection of nearly 5,700 incunabula (15th century imprints) is the largest such grouping in the Western Hemisphere.

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (www.abaa.org), a longtime Center for the Book reading promotion partner, works for ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade, encourages the collecting and preservation of rare books and supports education and research. The Fellowship of American Bibliographic Societies (www.fabsbooks.org) was formed in 1993 as a national organization of member book collecting groups.

The Jay I. Kislak Foundation, based in Miami, is engaged in the collection, conservation, research and interpretation of rare books, manuscripts, maps and cultural artifacts.


PR 10-033
ISSN 0731-3527