KU Libraries to host the Snyder Book Collecting Contest awards ceremony

KU Libraries will present the winners of the annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest at an awards ceremony on Thursday, April 21, featuring Danny Caine, author and owner of Raven Bookstore, as the keynote speaker. 

Held since 1957, the Snyder Book Collecting Contest awards University of Kansas undergraduate and graduate students for their collections of books, digital items, graphic novels, music and film that share a particular subject, topic or theme. This year’s contest is the first since the pandemic began in 2020. 

“This contest is important because it gives students an opportunity to showcase their collections to the public and talk about why they collect. They speak with such passion about their collections,” said Kristin Sederstrom, acquisitions and resource sharing library manager and the chair of the Snyder Book Collecting Contest committee.

The selected contestants will have their collections on display at the awards ceremony for public viewing. Judges will have a chance to view the collections and will make their final decisions at the event. Judges include past winners Paul Schwennesen, who won first place in 2018 and went on to win second place in the National Collegiate Book Collecting competition, and Danny Caine, who won second place in 2016 as a graduate student. Caine’s keynote presentation will be “The Pleasures of Being Surrounded by Books.”

“I’m excited that Danny Caine will be one of our judges and our keynote speaker, especially as a former winner and a prominent figure in the community who makes a living selling books and promoting reading,” Sederstrom said. 

KU Libraries received eight entries this year. The committee will review the entries and select which ones will advance to be presented for the judges to make their final decisions at the ceremony. 

“I think the more entries that we have, the better,” said Beth Whittaker, director of the Spencer Research Library and a long-time judge for the Snyder Book Collecting contest. “I don’t think any of the judges have ever minded the work. It’s fantastic to have lots of different entries, because you can see a range of topics and writing styles reflected in the collections.” 

Awards will be offered in both Graduate and Undergraduate divisions: First Prize: $600; second prize, $400; and honorable mention, $100. Each winner will also receive a gift card from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink. The first-place winners in each division are eligible to compete in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which awards a top prize of $2,500.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 5:30 p.m. April 21 in Watson Library, Third Floor West. Food and drinks will be provided. Please RSVP online by April 14. For more information contact libevents@ku.edu.