KU Libraries announce winners of 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest
The University of Libraries announced the winners of the 64th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest at the awards presentation on April 21. The contest, established by libraries donor Elizabeth Snyder in 1957, is designed to recognize students' passion for collecting books.
“It was great to be back in person and hear from the finalists about their collections,” said Beth Whittaker, associate dean of distinctive collections. “This is always one of the best events of the year, and this year did not disappoint.”
Christian Due, an undergraduate student from Gardner, Kansas, received first place in the undergraduate division for his collection, “Rosello: An Exploration of Identity and Heritage.” Due’s collection highlighted the history and culture of the village of Rosello and the surrounding region of Abruzzo, Italy, the land of his ancestors.
Robert Ward from Lawrence won second place in the undergraduate division for his collection, “A Herculean Labor of Love,” including numerous editions of Greco-Roman literature in the original language and works of scholarship and criticism on them from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
An undergraduate division honorable mention was awarded to Joan Doweny of Shawnee, Kansas, for her collection, “Discworld: A Fantastical Social Commentary,” containing a selection of the “Discworld” novels by Sir Terry Pratchett.
Eleni Leventopoulos of Chicago received first place in the graduate division for her collection, “The Little Grey Cells of Hercule Poirot.” This collection of 46 books represents the near complete works of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. All books are used, bringing their own history and value as objects in addition to stories.
“It’s impossible to pick a favorite collection,” said Kristin Sederstrom, acquisitions and resource sharing library manager. “They were all fantastic and each finalist highlighted a very personal experience of learning about themselves and developing their knowledge and interests through collecting books.”
The event featured keynote speaker, Danny Caine, who presented on the pleasures of being surrounded by book collections. “If I wake up every day in a house filled with books, many of which I’ve never read, I can more easily be inspired to keep learning,” Caine said. “And so the fact that I can never read my entire collection is not a problem but a feature. The minute I’ve read every book in my house is the minute I become educated, not learned. It would mark the end of something I hope never ends. The process of collecting mirrors the process of learning – it is never finished, and that is a blessing.”
Each winner received a cash prize and a gift card from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink. Cash awards are made possible by an endowment fund created by Mrs. Snyder. 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.