The winners of this year's student book collecting contest were announced at an awards ceremony in Rivera Library on May 24, 2016.
In the graduate category, Andrew Shaler won for California: The Long Nineteenth Century, a collection focused on Indian history in the Gold Rush era. Nicholas Dotson won the undergraduate category with Michael Jackson: The Components of a Legend.
This collection supports Shaler's research interests as a PhD candidate in the UCR history department. He has even had the chance to meet or work with some of the authors in his collection.
Dotson's personal interest was piqued by the King of Pop, and he collected books about MJ in an effort to learn more about this complicated public figure. Dotson's collection is on display in Rivera Library.
The Student Book Collecting Contest at the UCR Library was inaugurated in the academic year 2003-2004, in memory of Adam Repán Petko (1896-1995). Mr. Petko arrived in this country in 1912. He had a special interest in promoting literacy among his fellow immigrants, and he was particularly concerned with young children who had been denied a formal education in their native lands. The contest is funded through the generosity of Dr. Edward C. Petko, Adam Repán Petko’s son. Each contestant received a new book that will complement their collection courtesy of UC Press.
The purpose of this contest is to encourage students not just to read books, but to create their own personal libraries and book collections. A collection can cover any subject or topic, and collections need not consist of rare or expensive books. At the ceremony in May, all applicants had the opportunity to speak about their collections. Other entries ranged from science fiction by Isaac Asimov to field guides written by California naturalists.
Winners of the local contest are eligible to apply to the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which offers a first-place prize of $2500. Previous UCR winners have gone on to place nationally. In 2013, Elias Serna, a UCR PhD candidate, won first prize in the national contest for his collection The Chicano Movement: Pocho Poems, Posters, Films, and Revolutionary Plans. In 2011, graduate student Sarah McCormick took the third prize for her collection Desert Dreams: The History of California's Coachella Valley.