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Student Book Collection Competition

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The Biennial SFOL Book Collection Competition takes place during the spring semester and is open to all currently enrolled Oberlin College students. This competition is meant to recognize the efforts of students who collect books, as well as inspire others to start collecting. The top three students will be awarded cash prizes and will be invited to display their collections in the Mudd Main Academic Commons at the end of the semester.

Competition Rules:

  • All currently enrolled Oberlin students are eligible to submit a collection (with the exception of previous winners)

  • Books can be hardcover or paperback, but they must all be the property of the student. Books do not need to be turned in with your entry form; however, if you are selected as a winner, then you will be asked to supply selections from your collection to be displayed in Mudd this spring.

  • Entries must have a well-defined unifying concept that ties the collection together such as a particular author, genre, time period, or subject matter. Creativity is encouraged in the design of your collection's concept!

Application materials:

  • The entry form [PDF]

  • A 500 to 600 word essay describing the motivation behind your collection, your collecting criteria, and/or philosophy.

  • A bibliography of the books in your collection, with annotations for at least 10 of the titles that are the most representative or most important. You may add more annotations if you wish.
  • You must submit your application materials by noon on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

    Please submit one hard copy of all application materials to Marla Thompson in Mudd Main Library Administrative Offices.


  • Entries will be evaluated on the cohesiveness and unity of the collection, as well as its originality and creativity. The judges are particularly interested in collections that demonstrate great care and thoughtfulness on the part of the collector in addition to the potential and vision for future growth of the collection.

  • The three winners will be notified on Friday, April 29, 2016 and will be asked to submit selections from their collection for a special display on the main level of Mudd.


  • First Place: $300
  • Second Place: $200
  • Third Place: $100

The first place winner of this competition will be eligible to compete in the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest for a $2,500 cash prize, sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies, the Center for the Book, and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.

Entry materials are due by Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

Questions? Email us at sfol@oberlin.edu

Last updated:
March 7, 2019