For immediate release | April 25, 2019

2019 RBMS Leab Exhibition Award winners

CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) has selected six winners, three honorable mentions, and a notable citation for the 2019 Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Awards.

The awards, funded by an endowment established by Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab, editors of “American Book Prices Current,” recognize in five categories outstanding printed exhibition catalogs and guides, and electronic exhibitions, produced by North American and Caribbean institutions. The winning catalogs will be on display at the 2019 RBMS Conference Booksellers’ Showcase in Baltimore.

Division One (expensive)

The committee selected one winner and one honorable mention in Division One (expensive).

Division One Winner: University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Special Collections Library for “Experiment: Printing the Canadian Imagination: Highlights from the David McKnight Canadian Little Magazine and Small Press Collection,” curated by David McKnight.

“This catalogue makes a significant contribution to scholarship on Canadian little magazines and small press and micro-press imprints,” said Anna Chen, chair of the RBMS Exhibition Awards Committee and head librarian at the University of California-Los Angeles Clark Library. “While it focuses on one press, the Coach House Press, the catalogue also highlights many smaller and lesser-known presses and magazines, offering audiences a refreshing deep dive into the production of Canadian Modernist poetry and avant-garde literature. The committee also praised the catalogue’s striking visual design choices, which evoke the designs of the exhibition items themselves.”

Division One honorable mention: The Getty Research Institute for “Artists and Their Books/Books and Their Artists,” curated by Marcia Reed and Glenn Phillips.

“The committee wishes to recognize this substantial catalogue’s luxurious design, from subtly textured pages to sharp photography and generous layout, culminating in a beautiful showcase for artists’ books,” noted Chen.

Division Two (moderately expensive)

The committee selected one winner in Division Two (moderately expensive).

Division Two winner: University of Miami Lowe Art Museum and University of Miami Libraries for “Antillean Visions; or, Maps and the Making of the Caribbean: An Exhibition of Cartographic Art at the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami,” curated by William Pestle and Ashli White, with additional contributions by Casey Elinor Lue, Timothy Norris, Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, and Nathan Timpano

“The committee was impressed by this catalogue’s sensitive treatment of conquest and contested dominance, achieved through an interdisciplinary diversity of voices and perspectives,” stated Chen. “It stood out, moreover, for its accessible and thought-provoking presentations of maps in both informational and aesthetic ways, as well as its use of multiple languages to underscore its arguments about the international impacts of cartography.”

Division Three (inexpensive)

The committee selected one winner and one honorable mention, and awarded one notable citation, in Division Three (inexpensive).

Division Three winner: Penn State Libraries Eberly Family Special Collections for “Field Guide to Fairy-Tale Wolves,” curated by Clara Drummond.

“The committee was delighted by this entry’s innovative take on the exhibition catalogue format with its cheeky ‘field guide’ structure, which gives new meaning to the concept of the catalogue as a companion to a physical exhibition, and adds an interactive dimension to the exhibition experience,” Chen said.

Division Three honorable mention: Providence Public Library Special Collections for “HairBrained,” curated by Sussy Santana, Angela DiVeglia, Kate Wells, and Jordan Goffin.

“This entry creatively and productively expands the boundaries of the exhibition catalogue by presenting original poetry that interprets and speaks in dialogue with the items in the exhibition,” noted Chen. “The catalogue’s visual design, moreover, makes the most of each compact page with vibrant, readable colors.”

Division Three notable citation: Washington University Libraries Julian Edison Department of Special Collections for “The Monster’s Library; An Exhibition Curated by Students Enrolled in Frankenstein, Origins & Afterlives,” curated by Amy Pawl, Erin Sutherland, Corinna Treitel, and students enrolled in Frankenstein: Origins & Afterlives.

“The committee felt that this entry deserves a citation for its clever and self-referential library-oriented thematic structure as a framework to explore Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a ‘book made of books,’” stated Chen. “In particular, the committee wishes to recognize the extensively collaborative work underpinning this joint project, which emerged from a student-curated exhibition as part of a university course.”

Division Four (brochures)

The committee selected two co-winners in Division Four (brochures).

Division Four co-winner: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library for “Taking it to the Streets: A Visual History of Protest and Demonstration in Austin, curated by Molly Hults and Amanda Jasso.

“The committee praised this brochure’s accessibility to a wide audience,” Chen said. “The well-chosen photographs radiate energy, providing an invigorating way in to the exhibition itself. Moreover, the brochure included call numbers in the photographs themselves, providing clear references for audiences wishing to research the collections further.”

Division Four co-winner: University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts for “Ok, I’ll Do It Myself,” curated by Kislak Center Staff.

“The committee was taken with the innovative format of this exhibition guide, which includes 8 souvenir postcards, accordion-folded and perforated to encourage interactivity and multiple kinds of circulation and use,” noted Chen.

Division Five (electronic exhibition)

The committee selected one winner and one honorable mention in Division Five (electronic exhibition).

Division Five winner: University of Victoria Libraries for “Volatile Attractions: Saul Holiff, Johnny Cash, and Managing a Music Legend,” curated by Samantha MacFarlane.

“This digital exhibition incorporated an impressive range of photographs, audio recordings, and video clips to take advantage of the multimedia online platform,” stated Chen. “The committee also praised its multiple modes of navigation, and especially appreciated that the items were fully digitized, providing research value beyond the life of the exhibition.”

Division Five honorable mention: University of Delaware Library for “Things Aren’t What They Seem: Forgeries and Deceptions from the UD Collections,” curated by Alexander Johnston.

“The committee wishes to recognize this exhibition for its extensively contextualized and substantial content covering wide-ranging historical period,” said Chen. “It will surely serve as a rich resource for interdisciplinary teaching and research.”

For more information regarding the ACRL RBMS Katharine Kyes Leab and Daniel J. Leab “American Book Prices Current” Exhibition Awards, including a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for academic libraries and library workers. Representing nearly 10,500 individuals and libraries, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries learn, innovate, and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. Find ACRL on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


Chase Ollis

Program Officer