Wesleyan announces Park-McGregor Book Collecting Contest selections




Wesleyan College honored three students during the first Park-McGregor Book Collecting Contest presentations on May 8th. Endowed by a friend of Willet Library to allow students to begin building their own personal libraries, the contest honors two individuals who were instrumental in increasing Willet Library’s Special Collections; Orville Park of Macon, and the McGregor Fund of Detroit. Each finalist was required to write an essay describing how their collections were curated, provide an annotated bibliography, and a wish list for future acquisitions for their collection. Finalists were given a stipend of $250 to purchase books for their collections. The contest will be conducted every other year.


1st place selection: D’Maya Kirkland ’20

D’Maya’s collection, which revolves around the themes of the responsibilities of humans for the non-human world, for the Earth, and ultimately for one another, confronts ideas of anthropocentrism and attitudes of superiority of humans over non-humans through a rich selection of theory and fiction in conversation. It is a timely collection for an age of climate deniers and neoliberalism which looks to both the anthropological past and the fictional future for ways forward for all species.


2nd place selection: Meagan Speich ’21

Meagan’s collection grew out of a family history of military service and draws on literary representations of Western masculine war trauma. She showed an organic growth in her collection which seeks diverse perspectives from different times, places, and people. Her fantastic attention to detail demonstrated a love of both the intangible and tangible aspects of a text.


Essay prize selection: Nora Staurheim ’22

Nora’s collection values both the ideas and visual representations of fairy and folk tales, and she approaches her subject with an almost obsessive awe. Her interest is grounded in a commitment to understanding people and cultures, and to sharing them with her family and friends through stories in their original languages or in translation. From the start, it is obvious that Nora is personally invested in her collection, and has found meaning on multiple levels since a very young age.


Congratulations to contest finalists Rawlanda Hercules ’20 and Natalie Stallworth ’21.


The selection committee included Vice President for Institutional Advancement Andrea Williford, Public Services Librarian and Archivist Virginia Blake, Electronic Resources Librarian Rhiannon Bruner, Professor of English Dr. Melanie Doherty, Cobb Alumnae Professor of English Dr. Regina Oost, Assistant Professor of English Laura Lease, and Associate Professor of English Dr. Joe Lease. Contest judges included Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Melody Blake, Professor of Modern Languages Dr. Saralyn Desmett, Associate Professor of Accounting Kara Kostiuk, and Dr. Melanie Doherty.

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