The Sweet Briar Friends of Library and staff of Mary Helen Cochran Library recently recognized three students with annual awards given at the Friends’ spring meeting.
Mary McDevitt ’17 and Citlali Molina ’16 were the first- and second-place winners respectively in the Nicole Basbanes ’04 Book Collecting Contest. McDevitt, a studio art major, won for her collection of books in which pictures figure prominently — from children’s books to Japanese “mangas” to textbooks on human musculature.
“… My favorite way of seeing a story progress is through pictures,” McDevitt wrote in her contest essay. “The pictures can appear in the form of a picture book or a comic book. Sometimes the art of a story can make or break the message the author is trying to send to the reader.”
Molina’s collection is diverse, encompassing many genres — and she aims to add more.
“The new, used and tattered find their way to my shelves without discrimination of what they contain,” Molina, who is majoring in engineering, wrote. “Simply put, I am addicted to the written word.”
The judges, Nicole and her father, award-winning author Nicholas Basbanes, found what they were looking for in the collections.
“[McDevitt] demonstrates a deep passion for the subject, has want lists, is studying the field and doing the sorts of things that sug
gest this is the beginning of something that will grow and become increasingly sophisticated,” they said in the comments.
Molina’s expressed ardor for books and reading also caught their attention.
The comments noted, “She has a solid respect for literary classics, vintage and contemporary alike. … She clearly loves books and has the desire to keep collecting.”
Nicholas Basbanes is a sponsor of the award with the Friends of Library. The first-place prize is $300; the runner-up wins $200.
Also honored was Jessica Morgan Heiser ’16, who is the recipient of this year’s Stephen Mirabella Award. The award, also sponsored by Sweet Briar’s FOL, recognizes a library student assistant “who best represents the library and is active on campus in encouraging students to use the library.”
Mirabella was serving as the Friends of Library chair when he died at age 52 in 2008 — a great loss to many, Sweet Briar libraries director John Jaffe noted at the time.
“He constantly connected with students and always served as a committed advocate for libraries as a key element in a free society … ,” Jaffe said, when he recommended creating the award, which includes a $100 honorarium.
“He radiated love of books, knowledge and the arts. I can’t think of anything else that would please him more than to know he is encouraging students to grow and question and learn.”