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Winners selected for 60th Snyder Book Collecting Contest

Thursday, April 21, 2016

KU Libraries announce the winners of the 60th annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest. The contest, established in 1957 by Elizabeth Snyder, is designed recognize students' interest in collecting books.

“Book contests are one of the best ways for a library to emphasize and develop a love of books in its patrons,” said Whitney Terrell, contest judge and great nephew to contest founder, the late Elizabeth Snyder. “My aunt understood and loved books her entire life; she was intensely aware of the pleasure and political importance of books. It’s significant regionally and nationally that KU has had this long-standing contest.”

Judges selected first, second and honorable mention from finalists in the undergraduate and graduate divisions.  

Sarah McCall, with her collection, “Monsters on My Bookshelf: A Collection of Scary Stories” took first place in the undergraduate division. Second place was awarded to Joshua Gathright for “World War II: An Explosive, and Multifaceted View of the Deadliest War of All Time.” Luke Schletzbaum was selected as honorable mention for “Diversity of Flight: A Collection of Man’s Mastery of the Air.”

In the graduate division, Megan Jones placed first with her collection entitled “The Life and Times of Sacco and Vanzetti.” Danny Caine won second place for “Rust Belt Splendor: Hustle, Music, and Identity in the Post-Industrial Midwest.” Finally, Christopher Watson was selected as honorable mention for “Greek Myth on the Athenian Stage and Beyond.”

The winner of each division received a cash prize and a gift card from Jayhawk Ink, a division of the KU Bookstore and longtime partner in the competition. Cash prizes are made possible by an endowment fund created by Mrs. Snyder. McCall and Jones are also eligible for entry into the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, with a top prize of $2,500.

Judges for this year’s contest were Beth Whittaker, KU Libraries assistant dean of Distinctive Collections and director of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library; Baiba Sedriks, a former Snyder contest winner in the graduate division; and Whitney Terrell, assistant professor in English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Terrell also served as the featured speaker during the awards reception on April 14, where Terrell shared the writing process behind his forthcoming book, The Good Lieutenant, which will be released this June.

“Serving as a judge for the Snyder contest is always a special thrill for me. The essays and the collections themselves are often personal, informative and charming,” explained Whittaker. “It’s a chance to get to know a person through their passion for a particular subject or genre, and I’m so happy to be a part of a long tradition that can support and reward this kind of reflective collecting.”

The collections of each winner are on display through April 28 in an exhibition case outside of Jayhawk Ink on the second floor of the Kansas Union. Photos from the event are available for viewing. For more information about the contest and its history, visit the Snyder Contest website

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