September 04, 2009

Library sponsoring SPARKY video competition

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library has issued a casting call for students. If you fancy yourself the next Cecil B. DeMille or Frank Capra or even if you just enjoy seeing what you can do with a video camera, here’s your chance to win cool prizes and a bit of fame.

For the first time, Morris Library is sponsoring a campus version of the national SPARKY Awards. Contestants submit a short video, no more than two minutes long, focusing on the value and benefits of information sharing. You might want to approach the theme relative to research access, new information-sharing opportunities, information equity, taxpayer access, the importance of knowledge as a public good or from a variety of different angles, according to David H. Carlson, dean of Library Affairs.

“Issues of communication and the sharing of ideas are critically important to us as a society. On the one hand, technology makes it so much easier to share and distribute information but the same technology also presents opportunities to control those mechanisms in unique and potentially restrictive ways. What are appropriate control mechanisms? What is the balance between control that encourages rewards to authors and innovators with the need to distribute the information as widely as possible? I think this contest is a great and easy way to get students thinking about these critical questions,” Carlson said.

All entries are due by Nov. 20, just before Thanksgiving break. Morris Library will sponsor a preview screening and awards ceremony in the library auditorium to showcase the entries and recognize local winners Dec. 4.

The grand prize in the SIUC competition is an iPod touch. The top two runners-up each get a $100 gift certificate for the campus bookstore. And that’s not all. If an SIUC entry goes on to win a national prize, Morris Library will match it. The top national award is $1,000 while the runner-up and the people’s choice award winner each receive $500. Any student, graduate or undergraduate, enrolled for a minimum of three credit hours can participate and all entries will go on to the national competition.

For more information about the Morris Library SPARKY awards, look online at Other than the earlier submission deadline for the local competition, all entries must also adhere to the rules of the national competition, on the Web at

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, sponsors the national competition in keeping with its mission to promote the universal benefits of sharing all kinds of information and ideas.