Snyder Contest Rules & Details

Deadlines and dates

Bibliographies and essays should be submitted via the Snyder web form by Tuesday, April 2, 2024, 11:59 p.m. Entry packets will be used for preliminary judging to determine finalists.

Final judging will occur on April 30th, 2024.


Awards will be offered in both Graduate and Undergraduate divisions.

First Prize: $600
Second Prize: $400
Honorable Mention: $100

Each winner will also receive a gift card in the following amount from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink, a division of KU Bookstore:

First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $50
Honorable Mention: $25

The first place winners in each division are eligible for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which awards a top prize of $2,500.

Collection criteria

  • Collections should consist of a group of materials that share a particular subject, topic, or theme. The entrant must express the collection's thematic coherence in their essay and annotated bibliography.
  • Materials must be owned by the student.
  • While the majority of the collection should be print, other media that support and complement the collection are accepted. Items must be in the form of a physical object that can be displayed. Some examples of the types of acceptable formats include books, graphic novels, music (records, CDs, scores), film (DVDs, VHS), ephemera, etc. The collection may be supported by up to 5 digital objects/e-books but the items must be displayed and the contestant is responsible for providing the platform for display.
  • Entries are normally limited to a selection of 25 to 50 items, regardless of the size of the contestant's total collection.
  • Collections do not need to be rare or expensive to win.


  1. The contest is open to currently enrolled KU students. A previous winner may enter again only if a different collection is submitted. A previous non-winning entry may be resubmitted, although the collection will be expected to show growth. The contest is not open to individuals who have won a prize twice or more in any given division.
  2. Each contestant is limited to a single submission. If selected as a finalist, the contestant will be expected to produce all items listed in the bibliography (see Rule 3 below).
  3. Each contestant will submit an annotated bibliography of the submitted collection, a brief (two-to-six page) essay, and a 50-100 word description summarizing the collection.
    • The essay should:
      1. State the collector's purpose and method in building the collection.
      2. Give ideas for the collection's future development.
      3. Communicate how the entered items form a coherent collection. Entrants may find helpful suggestions for developing their essays, including essay examples from past winners' entries, on the Helpful resources and Selected essays, bibliographies, and sample collection links on the Snyder website. The essay must be the collector's original work.
    • At least ten entries in the bibliography must be annotated. The annotations should:
      1. Describe how each item relates to the collection as a whole and may address how and why it was acquired.
      2. Display the collector's understanding and knowledge of their books.
      3. If items in the bibliography are missing from display at the event, the contestant may be disqualified at the judges' discretion.
      4. You may use the Ask A Librarian service on the KU Libraries site or e-mail for more information on citation and annotation formats.
    • The physical collection must match the bibliography. All entries in the bibliography should be present in the physical collection; other items not listed in the bibliography will not be considered.
    • Each contestant must submit their entry electronically via webform. The essay, annotated bibliography, and summary description should be formatted as a single document.
    • Please do not put any form of your name or personal identification in the header/footer, title, or body of the annotated bibliography, essay, or summary.
  4. Final judging will occur on April 30th, 2024.
    • Each finalist is expected to deliver and set up the display of their full collection in Watson Library for final judging during designated times. Adequate book display risers and stands will be provided.
    • Visual props and accessories are not allowed and will not be used as criteria for the final judging of the collection.
    • Finalists will be required to sign a release form allowing KU Libraries to retain a copy of winning essays and bibliographies in the University Archives and to post these documents on the KU Libraries website.
    • The awards reception and ceremony will take place in the spring of 2024. All finalists are strongly encouraged to be present for the entire event.

Prospective contestants are welcome to discuss their collections before the closing date by contacting Christin Monts at

Snyder Book Collecting Contest Resources

Snyder Contacts

Contest Entry Information

Christin Monts


Media & Publicity

Christy McWard


Jayhawk Ink, a division of KU Bookstore

Rachel Barnes