Student news

The David Laing book collecting prize

All current students are invited to enter their personal collections of books or other materials for the chance to win £500, and a £250 allowance to acquire a book for the University of Edinburgh’s Special Collections.

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.

Book from the David Laing Collection

Winning criteria

To enter a collection, you must have 10 or more items which are connected by a common theme. These could include printed books, ephemera or other printed or handwritten material.

Collections will be judged by a panel of specialists from the University Library and the Centre for Research Collections.

The panel will be looking at the interest, originality, thoughtfulness and creativity of a collection; and vision and persistence of the collector. Entries will not be judged on their age, size or their monetary value.


The winner will receive:

  • £500
  • An allowance of £250 for a book to be purchased for the University of Edinburgh’s Special Collections
  • Membership of the Friends of Edinburgh University Library

The winner may also get the chance to exhibit items from their collection in the Centre for Research Collections.

How to enter

To enter the competition, email or post the following by 5pm 1 June 2016 to Dr Joseph Marshall, Head of the Centre for Research Collections:

  • A descriptive list of all the items in your collection – please include this in your application form
  • A short essay (maximum 2500 words) explaining: your interest in the collection; how and why it came together; and five items you would love to add to your collection and why
  • You can also include images of your collection, but this is optional

Visit the competition webpage for the full rules and application form:

Competition rules and application form

Contact details

Dr Joseph Marshall, Centre for Research Collections, Main Library, George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ.

Related Links

Special Collections

The David Laing manuscript collection