Graduate Student Exhibit Contest

Contest Opens October 1, 2021; Proposals due December 6 by 5pm

The Library Exhibitions Committee is sponsoring a contest open to all graduate students who work in any of the university libraries. The contest opens October 1, 2021; proposals are due December 6 by 5:00 p.m. The winner will be notified by December 13, 2021. To enter the contest, please submit a proposal for an exhibit that promotes a library resource or highlights a special subject or collection within the library. One winner will be selected by the Exhibitions Committee to build and display an exhibit in the Marshall Gallery* of the main library in April 2022. The winner will receive a prize of $200 and will have an allowance of $100 for printing costs. The student is expected to follow preservation concepts. For a complete list of contest regulations, visit Scroll down to Graduate Student Exhibition Contest. For more information, contact the exhibitions committee

*The Marshall Gallery is located in the first floor foyer by the east entrance of the main library.

Your proposal must include:

1)      A title for the display;

2)      A one paragraph description of the exhibit explaining its significance, for example, how it highlights a lesser known aspect of a collection, showcase a wide ranging collection, or promotes a specific library resource;

3)      A list of materials that would be used in the collection;

4)      3 representative labels – formatted as they would be used in the cases; and

5)      Either a sketch or schematic drawing – showing how items will be placed in both cases.

6)      Permission from the owning library’s collection manager or the unit head to use library materials in the exhibit. Your proposal must include a signed note of consent.

Graduate Student Exhibit Permission Form

Click here to view the Evaluation Form

Contact the committee for more information.

These awards are made possible by the very generous support of the late Dr. C. Barber Mueller, class of 1938. Dr. Mueller’s contributions also allow the committee to offer funding for exhibit-related supply purchases.

Exhibit curators can apply for up to $100 in supply funding per exhibit!


Sample Past Winning Entries      



Postponed due to COVID-19.


Preventive Preservation: The Importance of Environmental Monitoring and Integrated Pest Management in Maintaining Library Collections – Annie Carney and KayCie Voigt, Preservation Services, University Library


From Idea to Reality – Amanda Avery, Joshua Hackel, and Laurel Post, Grainger Engineering Library

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Art Books and Bindings – Kimberly Stelter


Mapping Fiction – Natalie Leoni


Leanna Barcelona

Kelly Applegate


Art Books and Bindings – Kimberly Stelter

A Snapshot of Women’s History at the University of Illinois, 1870-Present – Leanna Barcelona

Books’ Autobiographies – Abigail Connick


Words into Music  Linsy DePooter and Meredith Knoff, Undergraduate Library

Assemble: How Protests Shaped University History, 1947-Present – Kayla Hays and Anna Trammell, Scholarly Commons


Serendipity in the Stacks: Unexpected Treasures and Oddities – Tad Boehmer, Graduate Assistant, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Real Science Theater – Science On The Big Screen – Rachelle Ramer &  Megan O’Donnell, Grainger Engineering Library