Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Catalogue Awards

About the Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab American Book Prices Current Exhibition Catalogue Awards These awards are given annually in recognition of excellence in the publication of catalogues and brochures that accompany exhibitions of library and archival materials, as well as for electronic exhibitions of such materials. They are administered by the Exhibition Awards Committee of the ALA/ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), whose operating expenses are covered by a generous endowment from Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab, editors of American Book Prices Current.

Administered by:

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Division Five (electronic exhibition)

2018 Winner(s)

University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Special Collections Library

for “Tinctor’s Foul Treatise,” curated by Andrew Colin Gow, professor of history and director of religious studies; Robert B. Desjardins, independent scholar and graduate writing advisor; and François V. Pageau, doctoral candidate in medieval history, at the University of Alberta.

“This entry presented an effective use of the online exhibit to present a single object from multiple viewpoints, in such a way as would be impossible in a physical exhibit,” noted Johnston. “Its focus on this particular witchcraft treatise contributes to scholarship on the subject and history of late-medieval witchcraft and witch-hunts. Its creative use of Omeka templates makes for an easy-to-navigate and visually appealing digital exhibition. Significant features in the exhibit include links to the fully digitized manuscript and frequent embedded hyperlinks to additional, related external resources for further reading.”


Division Four (brochures)

2018 Winner(s)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library

for “H.G. Wells: Time Traveler,” curated by Simon J. James, professor at Durham University, UK, and Caroline Szylowicz, associate professor and Kolb-Proust Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“This is a high-quality takeaway brochure that conveys a lot of information about the exhibit in a small amount of space,” Johnston said. “It successfully integrates text and image for an appealing visual display. Additionally, it provides a full checklist of items plus a curatorial outline of the exhibit in case one wants to revisit particular items once they have gone off of display.”


Division Three (inexpensive)

2018 Winner(s)

Georgetown University Library

for “Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes: A Musical Friendship,” curated by Anna Celenza, Thomas E. Caesteker Professor of Music at Georgetown University.

“This catalog was a very substantial giveaway with wide-ranging scholarly interest,” stated Johnston. “Given the prominence of Hughes, it provides an important introduction to another, largely unknown historical figure. Its continuous narrative structure successfully engages the audience alongside the catalog’s visual content. Many contextual ephemeral materials are represented in high-quality reproductions; such materials are not reproduced as often, nor are they as easily located and accessed, making this a valuable contribution to the field.”


Division Two (moderately expensive)

2018 Winner(s)

University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

or “Struggle and Story: Canada in Print,” curated by Pearce J. Carefoote, interim head of rare books and special collections at the University of Toronto.

“This catalog is well-researched and presents thoughtfully framed topics,” noted Johnston. “Its attention to detail is evident in the in-depth catalog entries, as well as in the quality reproductions and nice design features. The committee was impressed that it included folded plates, so as to reproduce maps at a size suitable for reference. This catalog presents a beautiful production and presentation of a well-organized history and that history’s methods of documentation.”


Division One (expensive)

2018 Winner(s)

Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

for “Gather Out of Star-Dust: A Harlem Renaissance Album,” curated by Melissa Barton, curator of drama and prose for the Yale Collection of American Literature at Yale University.

“This catalog presents strong informational content in a dynamic and fresh design,” said Alexander C. Johnston, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards Committee and associate librarian at the University of Delaware. “Written for a wide-ranging academic and general audience, it offers multiple perspectives on the Harlem Renaissance and captures connections between and among many different figures at this time. It includes high quality image reproductions and effective categorical groupings, which showcase a variety of types of collections and materials. The catalog’s size, layout, typography, and color capture the spirit of the time period and subject and make for an accessible and engaging read.”