Libraries and Collections
The Robert B. and Blanche Campbell Student Book Collection Competition

UCLA Campbell Student Book Collection Competition

The Robert B. and Blanche Campbell Student Book Collection Competition, among the oldest competitions of its kind in the country and one of the most distinguished, rewards UCLA graduate and undergraduate students who have assembled outstanding book collections.

Over the years, many well-known writers have served as guest judges of the Campbell Competition, including Aldous Huxley and Christopher Isherwood. Previous award-winning collections have reflected such diverse student interests as mathematical puzzles and diversions, Anglo and Afro-American fiddling, robots in science fiction, the workings of the human eye, the culture of 1950s Cuban nightclubs, amusement parks, Aztec writing and culture, the King Arthur legend, and classic children’s books on horses.

The competition is named for the Campbells, founders of Campbell's Bookstore, the original book supplier to UCLA and a vital part of the university community for fifty years. The shop opened in 1924 across the street from the first UCLA campus on Vermont, and followed the university to Westwood Village in 1929. Beloved by all who knew them, the Campbells served the campus community until they retired in 1974, fifty years to the day after they opened their first bookshop.

Launched in 1948, the Campbell Competition stimulates and fosters student interest in book collecting and reading. It is supported by an endowment established by Robert and Blanche Campbell, as well as by gifts from donors including Clarice Campbell Olcott, Christy Beaudin, the Southern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, Dr. Bruce Tyler, and the UCLA Library Staff Association.