Information Services

Prizes and Competitions

The Centre for Research Collections in the Main Library is offering a prize of £500 to the student with the best collection of printed books or other written materials. The prize is open for undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University. For the purpose of the prize a ‘book’ is very loosely defined as anything with writing on it.

Do you own an outstanding collection?

The prize will be of two parts:

  • A payment of £500 to the winner
  • An allowance of £250 for the purchase of a book for the University of Edinburgh’s Special Collections, to be selected with the Head of Special Collections

The winner will also be given the possibility of exhibiting a selection of his or her collection in the Centre for Research Collections and a membership of the Friends of Edinburgh University Library.

The David Laing Student Book Collecting Prize is intended to encourage collecting by undergraduates and graduate students of the University by recognising with a monetary prize a collection formed by a student. The age, size and monetary value of the collection will not be relevant criteria. The collection must consist of not less than ten items, comprising printed books and/or ephemera and/or other printed or handwritten material on a common theme. The decision will be made based on the interest, originality, thoughtfulness and creativity of the collection and vision and persistence of the collector.

The prize is offered in honour of David Laing (1793 -1878), the distinguished antiquarian, collector and librarian who bequeathed his important collection of manuscripts and other materials to the University of Edinburgh in 1878.

The spirit of collecting is a core principle in Edinburgh University Library, the foundation collection having been presented by Clement Little in 1580. Since then the library collections have grown immensely, in a great part from donations of alumni and friends of the University as well as from acquisitions by the University itself. The prize follows the tradition of similar prizes at Universities in the United States, Canada and England.

Application procedures and rules are set out in the DAVID LAING STUDENT BOOK COLLECTING PRIZE RULES document.