Book Collecting Contest 2021

Congratulations Winners!Congratulations to Ella Hampson, Kaya Heimowitz, and Katie Kulus, winners of the 2021 Book Collecting Contest!

Collins Choice Award
Katie Kulus
“Little Paris Bookcase”

The Collins Choice Award recognizes a student whose collection illustrates the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.  The collector in this case gathered together a close knit collection focused on their experiences in, and love of, Paris.  In her collection, “Little Paris Bookcase,” the author describes the process of collecting, and how each book ties to her experience prior to, during, and after living in Paris.  She included fiction and non-fiction, including children’s books, novels, maps, travel guides and cookbooks in the collection.  Weaving her travels in and around Paris into a literary and cultural exploration of the city, including time spent at Shakespeare and Company arguably one of the greatest independent bookstores still in existence.  As the collector so eloquently put it, “Every time I pick up a book on Paris it is as if my adult reality and my childhood fantasy are united. To me that is what makes a great book, being able to feel connected and yet longing for the unknown.”

Katie is a senior majoring in Gender & Queer Studies.  She is from Sartell, Minnesota.

Best Essay
Kaya Heimowitz
“My Poetry Collection”

In the chosen essay titled, “My Poetry Collection,” the author shows the early influence of others in planting a love of reading and writing, in this case poetry, in the next generation.  As she notes, “reading has always been like breathing for me. After a while, reading became the inhale, and writing became the exhale.”  It was a family member who provided her a double bond that is both genetic and intellectual. The essay is very personal and outlines the process of collecting tied to the authors’ growth into a follower, reader, scholar and writer of poetry. The essay outlines the process of building her collection, along with thoughts on what led her to follow certain authors, and to expand the breadth of her interests.  The essay is a delight to read.

Kaya is a first-year student with an undecided major, but she’s leaning towards a degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing.  She is from Honolulu, Hawaii.

1st Place/Single Collector Award
Ella Hampson
“Dreaming into our Collective Future”

The first place, or single collector, award acknowledges the combination of an excellent, integrated and comprehensive essay, a well annotated bibliography, collection images, and a thoughtful wish list.  In the collection, “Dreaming into our Collective Future,” the collector clearly brings divergent writing genres together into one cohesive collecting scope, that of hope!  “If we truly believe that we can get to a world that is better for everyone and the earth, we can start taking the steps to move into it.”  Weaving together works of fiction and non-fiction that empowered her to see her own role in building a better future, the collection is categorized into non-fiction, visionary science fiction and ‘other’ which includes poetry, youth, fiction and religion. The well written, and well integrated, essay and bibliography clearly articulate how each of the works mentioned fulfills her mission in both a personal and academic way.

Ella is a senior majoring in Geology.  She is from Leavenworth, Washington.

Previous winners

Check back in the fall of 2021 to learn details of our next Collecting Contest!

The aim of the competition was to encourage full-time students at University of Puget Sound to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives, to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works, and to read, research, and preserve the collected works for pleasure and scholarship.”

The award was sponsored by the Book Club of Washington, a nonprofit organization of book lovers and collectors who has a special interest in collecting and preserving printed materials.  It is a goal of the club to support a new generation of collectors with awards and recognition of their collecting accomplishments.  The club held its annual awards reception on April 22nd, where the University of Puget Sound and all student participants were recognized for their achievement.


The aim of this competition is to encourage full-time students at Puget Sound to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives, to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works, and to read, research and preserve the collected works for pleasure and scholarship. Collections can be on any subject and this contest is open to all full time students.  The contest is offered every other year.

The Book Club of Washington generously funds two awards: $500 to a single collector and $250 for best essay. A third award of $250, the Collins Choice Award, is sponsored by the Collins Library.  No late entries are accepted. All applicants are invited to a recognition event at the Collins Memorial Library on Thursday, April 22, 2021, 4:00-5:00 pm. (Details forthcoming.)


What is a collection?

  • A collection consists of items that a student has come to own as a consequence of developing a particular interest, which may be academic or not.  A collection may consist of all books or a combination of books and other formats. For example, a collection focusing on a dramatist might include a playbill or poster associated with a performance.  A collection on birds might include illustrations or a collection representing geography may include maps. For this contest, a collection consists of no more than 30 items of which the majority should be books, but related materials such as photographs, illustrations, maps, ephemera, CDs, music scores, posters etc. may be included. Collections can be on any topics. Subjects can be contemporary or historical and may stress bibliographical features such as bindings, printing processes, type, editions, illustrations, etc. Comic books and graphic novels will be accepted. Collections of ephemera alone if of historical interest will be accepted.  Current textbooks should not be part of a collection, but historical textbooks may be included.
  • If you seek additional information or advice about book collecting, members of the Book Club of Washington are more than happy to consult with applicants. You can find more information about the Book Club of Washington web site, or contact Jane Carlin.

Your application should be in a Google document and include the following information in one single document.

  • A 2-4 page essay (BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR NAME & EMAIL ON THE ESSAY) stating the name and theme of the collection and describing how and why the collection as a whole was assembled. The essay should also focus on how the items in the collection are connected, or relate to, each other and to the theme, and how they come together to build a cohesive collection.
  • Either integrated within the essay, as part of the bibliography, or as a separate section of your word document, please include a selection of digital images of items in the collection.
  • An annotated bibliography of the items in your collection, in alphabetical order with each individual title numbered. The annotations should reflect the importance of each item to the collection as a whole and to how the item connects or builds on the other items in the collection.
  • An annotated “wish list” of up to five other book titles that you would like to add in the future to complete or enhance your existing collection.
  • In addition, we ask that you complete a 2021 application form. Submissions due by 5:00 pm, Friday, March 26, 2021.

Criteria for Evaluation

  • The purpose of the collection is clearly stated.
  • Evidence of the connections between the items in the collection.
  • Evidence of creativity in building the collection.
  • Evidence of the importance of the collection to the collector.
  • Originality, innovation and uniqueness.
  • Quality of the collector’s essay describing the collection and addressing these criteria.
  • Appropriate and complete citations with meaningful annotations. Annotations should briefly describe the content of the item, and explain how the item addresses the purpose of the collection. Citation style must be consistent, but can follow any style format (e.g. MLA, APA).
  • Must submit digital images of items in the collection.

Criteria for the Collins Choice Award
The Collins Choice Award recognizes a student whose collection illustrates the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. A liberal arts education reflects an understanding of how knowledge is organized and interpreted while it imparts skills that foster a life of continuous learning.

The collection and essay should illustrate these concepts in addition to reflecting the passion and enthusiasm the student has for their collection.  Essays should introduce the reader to the inspiration for the collection as well as the process of collecting and how the individual works connect to one another.  This in turn reveals the creativity, critical thinking and synthesis of ideas represented in the collection.

Contest details

Read about former winners and check out articles on book collecting.

Links to other book collecting contest sites:
Fine Print Magazine
Boston College
Harvard University
Swarthmore College
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago
Washington University in St. Louis
Arizona State University
Amherst College

Great reading for book lovers:  Rare Book News from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association

Contact Jane Carlin, Library Director, for additional information at