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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:

Division One (expensive)

2020 Winner(s)

Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

for "Nineteen Nineteen"

"This beautifully-designed catalog is an innovative, fresh take on the "anniversary celebration" model, setting a new standard for this kind of exhibition and catalog. This catalog celebrates a distinctively wide range of material, weaving narratives about the library's founders with broader sociopolitical events in surprising and compelling ways. The quality of the publication is high and the interpretation is remarkably interrogative and thoughtful." - Leab Awards Committee


2020 Honorable Mention(s)

The Grolier Club
for "A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner"

"The breadth of the collection within the stricture of the miniature book highlights objects from around the globe both beautifully and comprehensively. The quality of the item descriptions in particular argues that bibliographical description can be a form of scholarship in its own right, an aspect of the catalogue that the committee finds particularly commendable." - Leab Awards Committee


Division Two (moderately expensive)

2020 Winner(s)

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

for "Wise Men Fished Here: A Centennial Exhibition in Honor of the Gotham Book Mart, 1920-2020"

"The creative and dynamic design coupled with the comprehensive content of this catalog contribute to the stand-out character of Wise Men Fished Here. The committee was pleased that the catalog featured conversation regarding not only the collection and its history, but also the process of cataloging, describing and exhibiting the material. The under-told story of the woman bookseller at the center of the exhibition, and her influence on the arc of modernism, has both high scholarly value and broad appeal to a general public." - Leab Awards Committee


2020 Honorable Mention(s)

Texas A&M University Libraries Cushing Memorial Library & Archives
for "The Stars Are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy"

"The diversity and breadth of work featured in this exhibit deserves praise for illustrating the inclusivity of the science fiction genre. The genre's diversity is presented in an organic and fluid manner, and no contributor or contribution is othered. Patrons interested in this topic will gain a deeper understanding of the genre and be introduced to a wealth of new titles, authors and topics to explore on their own." - Leab Awards Committee


Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
for "Bibliomania; or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance"

Division Four (brochures)

2020 Winner(s)

The University of Alberta Bruce Peel Special Collections

for "Fishing with Flies"

"This playful and well-designed brochure finds delight in an unfamiliar and potentially esoteric topic. Despite the compact format, the brochure stuns with high-quality images on translucent paper. It is both delicate and substantive." - Leab Awards Committee


2020 Honorable Mention(s)

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book & Manuscript Library
for "Making Mr. Darcy: Cultural Context for the Regency Gentleman"

"The innovative layout and deeply engaging content of this brochure is particularly commendable for such a short format. The topic addresses an under-discussed set of influences that affected and were affected by Austen's work, adding context to a well-known novel. The brochure makes a persuasive argument to visit the exhibition, offering an appealing promise for what the patron will learn and experience in person." - Leab Awards Committee


Division Five (electronic exhibition)

2020 Winner(s)

Northwestern University Transportation Library

for "Independence in the Air: African Aviation in the 1960s"

"This website's straightforward and easily-navigable design complements the thorough and thoughtful scholarship. The show itself is engaging, and is enhanced by the digital apparatus. The committee particularly likes that the objects in the exhibition are linked to the library finding aid portal and catalog, easily allowing for further interrogation by patrons. The use of a sans-serif font also makes the site accessible for all kinds of viewers. Overall, the user experience of navigating the website is frictionless and this show is inviting on many levels." - Leab Awards Committee


Division Three (inexpensive)

2020 Co-Winner(s)

Oakland University Art Gallery

for "Encountering the Rare Book"

"The committee particularly appreciated how this text brought in voices beyond the humanities to reflect on the impact of rare books in scholarship. Giving students, early career academics and STEM scholars the opportunity to reflect on their early encounters freshens a familiar topic and empowers non-experts to give their own perspectives on rare materials. The text also skillfully conveys a great deal of wide-ranging information in a small space. Overall, Encountering the Rare Book offers engaging design with informative illustrations." - Leab Awards Committee


The University of Guelph School of Fine Art and Music and the Archives and Special Collections, McLaughlin Library

for "Spaces of Wonder, Wonder of Space: Encountering the Eighteenth Century in Image, Object, and Text"

"The content and conceit of this publication is commendable. The central thesis concatenating the objects was compelling and original, offering a discussion not just of objects but also how they are perceived. The committee appreciated the collaborative approach to this topic, which gave space to a wide range of voices and approaches from students to faculty.聽" - Leab Awards Committee