Thursday, May 13, 2010

2010 UCLA Campbell Book Collecting Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 62d Annual Robert B, and Blanche Campbell Student Book Collection Competition were announced and rewarded yesterday during a ceremony, reception, and exhibition of the winners' collections.

This year attracted a record number of entrants. Of twenty-four entries. nineteen contestants were selected as finalists, and invited to bring their collections to the library for the final round of judging. Of the nineteen finalist collections, twelve were selected to receive awards. 

Each application for entry in the competition consists of a one-page essay describing the student’s collection, an annotated bibliography of the collection, and an annotated “wish list.”

The collection of Jacqueline Ragnarsson

2010 Library Staff Association Award Winners:

1. Sandee Vo
Mentors in Leadership from the Past and Present
The books in this collection speak to individual sources of leadership inspiration and perseverance, drawn together by Ms. Vo’s compelling personal narrative and search for mentorship through the printed word.

2. Elena Moroz
Books Banned By Dictatorships
A topic close to her heart: In the Soviet Union, her parents read banned books which had secretly been copied and distributed, called “Samizdat.”

2010 Corine Tyler Walker Prize:

Bryan Villa 
A Collection for the Japanese Student
Everything here that the serious student of a foreign language would need.

Undergraduate Second Prize:

Jonathan Harrington 
Freedom, Civil Rights, and Social Equality: The Black American Struggle
This collection had a clear scholarly focus while also containing a number of volumes that were of interest for their own sake, such as the 1965 publication of Malcolm X

2010 ABAA Undergraduate Prize:

Hannah Marston
Aviation Addiction: A Lifetime with Bigglesworth
A collection of Captain W.E. Johns' Biggles series, which few in this country are aware of in spite of its popularity in other parts of the English-speaking world.

Undergraduate First Prize:

Nicholas Zabaly
The Animated World: Books and Art from America and

Beautiful books on the art of American animation and Japanese, several of which are now quite rare, and related ephemera.

Graduate Second Prize:
Regina Richter Lagha 
Islam Through American Eyes: Capturing American Muslim Experience
Personal experience and change in belief through exposure to religious education.

ABAA Graduate Prize:

Linda Civitello  
Comfort Food Books
The cookbooks and cooking reference works showcased in this collection demonstrate a clear appreciation for food history and regional cuisines.

Graduate First Prize:

Ryan Roberts
The Many, Living Voices of the National Parks
A well-rounded collection with depth; ranging over 100 years.

2010 Blanche G. Campbell Outstanding Children’s Book Collection Award:

Nicole Parsons
Dr. Seuss and His Impact on a Genre
The collection speaks for itself, as the books have to every child who has read them.

2010 Frieda Kuiper Beaudin Prize for Outstanding Collection in the Sciences:

Jenny Chun 
My Incredible Mind
Her collection of books related to the study of the human mind showed a clarity of purpose and dedication to intellectual growth.

Andrew Krastins Prize for Printed, Manuscript, and Recorded Materials Prior to 1930:

Jacqueline Ragnarsson
Tales of Adventure on the American Frontier: A Collection of Works from the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
A remarkable collection consisting of first editions or close to first editions by the likes of Zane Grey, Owen Wister, Robert W. Service, Clarence Mulford and Jack London.

A remarkable group of student collectors, indeed, who conclusively demonstrated that the interest in books and book collecting is limited only by one's imagination and curiosity. And that collecting books is not just about collecting authors but collecting around an idea and letting the idea guide you to new vistas and ways of thinking.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

 Viewing the collections.

The Campbell competition was established after World War II, and it is one of the oldest student book collecting competitions in the country. It began with the generosity of Blanche and Robert Campbell, who opened a shop across the street from the original UCLA campus in 1924, and followed the university in 1929 when it moved to Westwood Village, on Los Angeles’ Westside. Campbell’s Bookshop, which this author knew well and cherished as part the independent book store tradition, closed in 1979, after fifty years as a cultural anchor in Westwood.

In addition to the generosity of individuals, the annual UCLA Campbell Book Collecting Competition is supported by the Southern California chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, and the UCLA Library Staff Association, a voluntary membership group made up of Library staff members.

Student book collecting competitions are declining at universities across the country; they are considered expendable when budgets need to be trimmed. That is unfortunate. Student book collectors are the torchbearers for the hobby into the future. More than that, their passion for books is crucial to continue to tell the story of books past, what the story of the book is to a new generation in the now, and what direction the story of the book will take into the future.

My thanks to UCLA Librarian Gary Strong; Tom Hyry, Director of Special Collections; Lucinda Newsome, Head, Administrative Services and Acquisitions, Department of Special Collections; UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library; and Susan Kanowith-Klein, Ph.D., Associate Director of Development UCLA Library, for their assistance. Exhibition images by Jimmy Olsen.


  1. What wonderful coverage, Steve! I'm so happy you wrote this article--especially since this is the first time in several years that I haven't been able to attend the Campbell Book Collecting award presentation. After reading your post, I almost feel I was there--and look forward to going back next year.

  2. I entered that contest lo those many years ago when I was an undergraduate. I didn't win, but did have fun trying to write a concise statement describing my collection -- pictures and analyses of various fluid motions in nature.


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