Last week, UT Libraries offered any student on campus the chance at a semester of fame with the "Star in the Next Library READ Poster" contest.
Many students on campus are familiar with last year's posters featuring Smokey, Little Smokey, the Volunteer and Dr. Bill Bass of the "Body Farm" reading their favorite books, and this contest gives students the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of these UT celebrities.
Robin Bedenbaugh, coordinator of Library Marketing and Communications for UT Libraries, was a primary coordinator for this contest.
"Our posters are a part of the American Library Association's READ campaign," Bedenbaugh said, "and are sent out to high schools to promote literacy in schools."
The ALA's long-standing READ poster campaign features professional sports figures, actors and other celebrities, including Hugh Jackman and Alan Rickman, reading from various books. UT Libraries has been developing similar posters as means of supporting the cause.
"We thought it would be fun to have a UT student on our next poster," Bedenbaugh said. "What better way to do that than with a contest?"
The contest, which ran last week, invited students to Hodges Library, the Haslam Music Center and the Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library to pose.
"First, the contestant will fill out the contest release form to give us permission to use the photo," Bedenbaugh said. "Then, the person can pick up one of our books, or bring one of their own, and the photographer will take their picture."
All of the photos are expected to be available today on the UTK Libraries Facebook page, and any person can go online and vote for his or her favorite photo. The photo with the most votes will be selected for the next poster.
Nick Meyers from UT Video and Photography was the photographer for the contest and was charged with setting up the candid shots of the reading students.
"They are fun pictures," Meyers said. "It's good as long as they are smiling and happy in the photo."
Many students were unaware of the contest until they walked into Hodges Library on Wednesday and were asked if they wanted to participate. Sara Barrera, sophomore in Economics, was merely a passerby until she was invited to have her photo taken for the contest.
Barrera picked up the library's copy of "Casanova in Bohemia" by Andrei Codrescu and was positioned by Meyers at one of the nearby tables where he photographed a candid shot of her reading. Barrera felt as though the whole experience was "random" and was surprised that this contest was occurring.
"I was a little nervous with it happening out in the open," Barrera said. "I'll be the next star if I fit what they are looking for."
Becoming well-known on such a large campus can be difficult to accomplish, but UT Libraries is providing an opportunity for any student to step into the campus spotlight and have his or her own "semester in stardom."
"Everyone who participates is involved as part of the campaign when we post the pictures," Bedenbaugh said. "However, there is only one winner."