April 28, 2009 – On your marks, get set, go ... get books! And do make sure those books are from one of UC San Diego's nine campus libraries. The UC San Diego Libraries' 6th Annual Summer Reading Contest will kick off on May 1, and the campus' large community of readers is invited to participate by reading books and submitting book reviews, which will make them eligible for a plethora of prizes.
While last year's contest shattered a few records—readers' turned in a total of 1257 book reviews compared to 734 reviews in 2007—the event's organizers are hopeful that this year's contest will be the most popular ever.
"Our reader-to-review ratio is clearly on the upswing," said Mariah Burzynski, coordinator of the reading contest for the UCSD Libraries. "While we have always enjoyed high rates of participation among UCSD staff, we've also witnessed greater involvement among students, faculty, alumni, and friends and supporters of UCSD."
To participate in the annual contest, readers must have library privileges at UCSD, a privilege automatically granted to all faculty, staff, and students at the university. In addition, members of the Friends of the UCSD Libraries and the UCSD Alumni Association enjoy library privileges. While all books must be checked out at one of the campus libraries, readers have more than 7 million print and digital items to choose from, including books, journals, government documents, and other materials. In previous years, readers' tastes have spanned a wide diversity of genres, from science fiction and poetry to graphic novels and plays. The contest will run through July 31.
Readers may participate as individuals or as members of reading teams. Reviews are submitted on the contest Web site, which includes a variety of helpful resources for participants. Although creative and quirky new award categories are dreamed up every year, last year's award categories included: Roger Recruit Extraordinaire (best use of the Libraries' online Roger catalog); Stage to Page; Proustian Moments, and the Food for Thought Award bestowed to Claudia Erlich for her review of "Twinkie, Deconstructed" by Steve Ettinger.
The contest's top award , given for the most books read (also known as the Time Is No Obstacle Award), was given last year to Carol Hobson, who shattered the 2006 individual book reading record of 66 books by digesting a total of 99 books. Hobson, a UCSD staff member in External Relations, was a member of the award-winning team, A Novel Approach, which submitted a total of 150 book reviews.
All book reviews, contest rules, and resources for the Summer Reading Contest, which is sponsored by the UCSD Libraries, are included on the contest Web site at: http://sshl.ucsd.edu/summer/ The Web site includes several "Top 100" lists and links to online book clubs. It also includes a link to "The Book Spot," a compendium of links to recommended reading lists, which is searchable by genre and theme. The site also includes all book reviews submitted and Reader of the Week profiles, as well as information about contest rules and guidance on finding a UCSD book.
The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.