Madison College Libraries: Presenting National Library Week photo contest

Virginia Bryan, Librarian

With the ubiquity of social media, digital cameras, tablets and camera phones, these days it seems there’s scarcely a moment of our lives that can’t be captured and shared with the world in the blink of an eye. The ability to point, shoot and share almost instantaneously has had a profound and dramatic effect on how we communicate.    With images flying through the cybersphere at an astonishing rate – Facebook alone accounts for 300 million per day – at times it almost seems as though images have outstripped words as the communication tool of choice. If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, that’s an awful lot of words.

While much of our compulsive visual documenting challenges this old adage, a well-chosen, thoughtfully composed picture still has the power to move us, provoke us, and make us think. Indeed, a powerful image can appeal to our imagination and affect us emotionally in ways that transcend the boundaries of language altogether. The very best pictures have an ability to communicate something universal, immediate, and complex. A single image can interpret a theme, express an idea, or provide the visual frame of reference needed to make a difficult concept accessible.

Each year for the last several years, in conjunction with National Library Week (NLW), Madison College Libraries has held a contest. In the past this contest has been an essay contest. This year, we thought we’d ring the changes and do something a little different. Rather than an essay, we are asking students to submit a photograph reflecting their interpretation of the theme “Madison College Libraries Matter.”   Submissions must be accompanied by a 50-100-word artist statement that clearly connects the photograph with the theme. The submissions will be judged on creativity, originality, artistic merit and the relevance to and interpretation of the theme.

We are looking for images that engage us, move us and tell us something about the role Madison College Libraries has played in your education, your progress toward personal or career goals or any other aspect of your life. In short, we are looking for a picture that truly does speak a thousand words.



Contest begins on March 6

All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. on April 1.

Only current Madison College students are eligible to enter.

All entries must include:

• Student name, student ID number, email address, phone number and primary campus

• One photo in JPEG format, submitted as an attachment

• A 50-100 word statement about the photograph, relating it to the theme “Madison College Libraries Matter”

• A signed release form for any individual appearing in the image, giving permission for the image to be used by Madison College Libraries (Forms will be available in the libraries and online at

Entries must be submitted electronically to: [email protected]

Only one entry per person is permitted

The winner will be announced during National Library Week (April 14-20, 2013)

Grand Prize: pair of Beats by Dr. Dre