Student Bibliophiles Win Top Prizes in UCSD Libraries' Annual Book Collecting Contest

Winning collections focus on contemporary ethnic poetry, transgressive thinkers, and vampires

Maile Arvin won 1 st Prize in the graduate division for her contemporary ethnic poetry collection

UC San Diego graduate student Maile Arvin and undergraduate D. J. Drilling collected 1st Prize awards (in the graduate and undergraduate divisions respectively) in the UCSD Libraries’ Annual Student Book Collecting Contest.

The UCSD Libraries’ annual competition is aimed at nurturing and recognizing budding book collectors and encouraging UCSD students to collect books, to build their own libraries, and to appreciate the qualities and the pleasures of the printed word. Prizes are awarded in separate categories for UCSD undergraduate and graduate students. Monetary prizes in the amount of $500, $300, and $200 are awarded to the prize-winners.

D. J. Drilling won 1 st Prize in the undergraduate division for her collection on vampire culture

Arvin, who is working on her Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies, was awarded 1st Prize in the graduate division (the Cole Prize) for her collection on contemporary ethnic poetry, which traces poetic growth, experimentation, and the creative alliances among ethnic communities. The Cole Prize is named for Barbara Todd Cole, the longtime owner of the landmark John Cole’s Bookstore in La Jolla.

Drilling, a junior majoring in Literature at UCSD’s Eleanor Roosevelt College, was awarded 1st Prize in the undergraduate division (the McGilvery Prize) for her assemblage of books on vampire-related topics, ranging from vampire science and forensics to the popular “Twilight” series and Ann Rice novels. The McGilvery Prize is named for La Jolla bookseller Geraldine Malloy McGilvery.

In addition to the two 1st Prize winners, an Honorable Mention was given to Vabianna Santos, a Ph.D. candidate in Visual Arts, for her collection of creative, unconventional thinkers, writers, and poets who’ve ignored the boundaries of traditional societal norms. Her collection on transgressive writers and artists includes the works of William Burroughs, George Bataille, and Jim Carroll.

“We are very grateful to Judge Terry O’Rourke and Judge Tony Maino for their generous gift—in honor of John Davies— in support of this year’s competition,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, The Audrey Geisel University Librarian. “John, who served on the board of the UC Regents and the UC San Diego Foundation, was an ardent book collector who supported our Mandeville Special Collections Library, as well as the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. This gift is a fitting tribute to John and the passion of book collecting.”

According to Lynda Claassen, the director of UCSD’s Mandeville Special Collections Library, who coordinates the annual contest, both Arvin and Drilling are now eligible to submit their essays and bibliographies to the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest.

Past winners have reflected a wide range of collecting interests among UCSD student book collectors, including Charles Darwin and Fyodor Dostoevsky as well as Star Wars, baseball, and Edward Gorey. Collections have also focused on whales and dolphins and the Edwardians, as well as the classics of ancient Rome and Greece, and Buddhist art. Some collections have centered on a single poem, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a single theory (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), or a single subject like island living or the craft of writing.

Book collections must include at least 25 items, must be owned by the student submitting the collection, and must be built around some unifying concept or theme. They may feature a specific author or subject, contemporary or historical; an illustrator; or a physical aspect of the book, such as fine binding or significant autographed editions. Paperbacks and/or ephemera that enhance the collection are encouraged.

The UCSD Libraries Annual Book Collecting Contest is conducted during spring quarter. Student essays and bibliographies are due by early April and awards are made by late May. For more information about the contest, go to: or contact Lynda Claassen, director of the Mandeville Special Collections Library, at 858-534-1272 or

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