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Neureuther Competition

A student shelving books in the stacks.

The Carl Neureuther Student Book Collection Essay Competition encourages students at Washington University to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives.

For more information on Carl Neureuther and book collecting resources, please see the Student Book Collecting Research Guide.

The 2024 Neureuther Competition ended on March 8, 2024.

About the Competition


Awards will be given in two categories: graduate and undergraduate. There will be a first- and second-place award for each of the two categories. First prize is $1,000; second prize is $500.


Except for previous Neureuther winners, any full-time, currently registered Washington University student is eligible to participate. Students enter by filling out an entry form and uploading a two- to four-page essay and a bibliography of their collection. Collections of any size and on any subject are eligible. Judging is based on collection description, personal value, and writing quality.

Collection Requirements

The book collection must be owned by the contest entrant.

NOTE: Contest winners must be prepared to submit a representative sample of books (three to five) from their collections to the contest committee. Collections may be of any size, on any subject, and should reflect the owner’s intellectual, personal or recreational interests.

Criteria for Entry

Entries must include the following elements:

  1. A completed entry form is to be submitted via the online portal. The 2024 Neureuther Competition ended on March 8, 2024.
  2. An essay. The essay should be typed, double-spaced, on white, 8 ½ x 11-inch paper, at least two pages but no longer than four pages. See the Judging section below for essay criteria. Please submit the essay as part of the entry form.
  3. A formal bibliography to demonstrate a representative sampling of the book collection. This can be attached to the end of your essay. Use an established style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, the MLA Handbook, or one of the APA Style series. Visit our Citing Your Sources research guide for additional assistance. Please submit the bibliography as part of the entry form.


Judging of the essay will be based on the theme and scope of the collection, approach to collecting, personal value to the collector, and quality of the writing but will not be judged on rarity, marketplace value, or size of the collection.

Judging will be conducted by a panel of volunteers drawn primarily from the faculty of Washington University, with a past graduate-level winner or local Libraries supporter often serving as well.


All entrants will be notified once the judging is completed. The winners of the competition will be notified in April, at which point they will submit three to five books from their collections to the contest committee, which will host an awards ceremony with the judges and the university librarian.

Winning Essays

Browse winning essays from past years on Open Scholarship.