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Penn State University Libraries

International Library Experience Essay Contest

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Are you an international student with a story to share about a library in your country? Have you studied or lived abroad and had a memorable experience with a library overseas? Then you’re invited to participate in the University Libraries’ International Library Experience essay contest. 

The contest is open to currently enrolled Penn State students from any campus, including international students, study abroad students, and any students who have experience with international libraries. 

1st prize: $200 Cash award
2nd prize: $150 Cash award 
3rd prize: $50 Cash award 

All participants will receive a certificate of participation.

The deadline for submission is Friday, April 2, 2010.

Printable Flyer for the International Library Experience essay contest.



Create an original written essay of 1500 - 2000 words, or a podcast, video, vodcast or other multimedia format of 5 to 15 minutes, on an experience with an international library.

Submit your entry by e-mail as an attachment or as a link to a URL (such as YouTube) to Dawn Amsberry at by Friday, April 2, 2010.

By submitting an entry, participants grant the University Libraries the right to use their material for publicity purposes or publication.

A committee of library faculty will review submissions and determine winners by April 16, 2010.


Suggested Topics

Below are some sample topics you may choose from. You are not limited to these topics; you may use any other topic of your choice that relates to international libraries.

International Students

  • Describe an experience with a library or librarian in your country that greatly influenced your  academic life and education.
  • Describe library services in your country and their significance to you and the library’s community.
  • Discuss the differences between a library in your country and the Penn State University  Libraries relating to collections, services, technology, staff, etc.

Study Abroad Students

  • Describe your experience using a library abroad during your study abroad experience.
  • Discuss the differences between the Penn State University Libraries and the library you used during your study abroad experience.


Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Originality of expression: the content of the submission is presented in an interesting, unique, and/or creative way.
  • Clarity: the submission is clear, organized, and focused on issues related to international libraries.
  • Significance:  the submission contributes to a greater understanding of international libraries.


For more information about this contest or to submit your entry contact:

Dawn Amsberry