It’s More Than Just the Prize

Many of us delight in the idea of winning something, no matter how old we are. That’s one reason the library offers contests, to make your library a fun place. But, as you may have guessed, there’s more to it than that.

Grace Whitaker's grand prize depiction of “Dr. Dredd's Wagon of Wonders” (2012)

Winners of some of our contests receive gift cards. That’s nice. And some have their efforts posted on our web site or reprinted on bookmarks. That gives participants extra recognition and makes them proud of their work, but what’s in it for the library?

We want you to read. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Stephen King novel or a how-to guide that you choose to check out. So, we have contests tied to reading in some way like the upcoming March Madness for teens.

We want EVERYONE in Boone and Callaway County to read and to continue gaining knowledge. Admittedly, that’s a lofty goal, but we’re game to aim high, and we feel the results are worth the effort.

In 2012, we held the 25th annual Design a Book Cover contest for our bookmobile patrons.

For many schools in the bookmobile service area, this contest has become a regular part of their fall curriculum. Librarians and art teachers at the rural schools in Boone & Callaway Counties work together to help their students find titles to illustrate and give them class time to work on it. Winners have come from all age groups and often receive their awards in front of their peers at a school assembly. Two of this year’s winners were brother and sister.

Lee Pantoja's illustration of “Jackie Chan adventures: Sign of the Ox” (2003)

“I love to look at the kids’ stuff,” said Deb Jewett, the DBRL staff member who’s overseen the contest for 25 years. Knowing the value of a personal connection, Deb has sometimes visited with county schools individually about the contest to make sure they will submit student entries again each year.

At times, the program yields unusual outcomes. “The most exciting story I can think of is when Jackie Chan's people found us on the web and asked if they could put a cover that had been done (featuring Jackie Chan) on their web site. Now that's exciting!” said Jewett.

Our submission form for the book cover contest states, “We hope this contest will stimulate children to use their imaginations and at the same time strengthen their awareness of books written for them. We would also like to encourage them to visit the bookmobile or local library.” And that, my friends, is what these contests at the library are all about.

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