Student’s Book Collection Leads to Scholarship Award


Shwetabh “Tabo” Tarun
Shwetabh “Tabo” Tarun

“Can we not get an extension for the whole year?”

As a child, Shwetabh “Tabo” Tarun says this was the question he asked every time he returned a library book.

“I thought it was unreasonable to go back and forth from the library because that time could be better spent reading,” says Tarun. “If I wanted to re-read my favorite books, I might as well live at the library!”

Tarun, a junior Political Science major at The Ohio State University, says he initially began collecting books for the sake of efficiency. Now an avid book collector, Tarun is able to see how his collection has evolved with him.

“My book collection serves as a reflection of my goals and interests during different stages of my life,” he says.

Tarun’s passion for collecting books led to his selection as the recipient of the 2020 Ann W. and Emanuel D. Rudolph Student Book Award Scholarship. In their lifetimes, Ann and Emanuel Rudolph collected over 53,000 volumes, cataloging and preserving them in their homes. The Rudolphs shared their collection with countless students and book lovers and eventually established an endowment to provide a scholarship to encourage young people to pursue collections of their own.

Much like the Rudolphs, Tarun has found immeasurable value in his collection.

“It has allowed me to experience other worlds, learn valuable lessons from outstanding leaders and gain insight into the life I hope to live in the future,” he says. “During my childhood, I read fictional novels in order to escape into another reality. At the beginning of college, I read books focused on self-improvement and about the lives of high achievers. Now, as a junior in college, I read books about my future aspirations in medicine and policy.”

Tarun says his book collection has also shaped the way he lives his life.

“The self-improvement books and the stories about high achievers played an instrumental role in how I approach my life today,” he says. “These books provided clear instructions on how habits, the willingness to work hard and the ability to find internal happiness can lead to a more fulfilling life.”

“Now, almost a year away from beginning medical school, I am collecting books that will educate me about my future profession as a physician influencing policy,” says Tarun. “I purchased books by current physicians such as Dr. Atul Gawande, Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Jerome Groopman and Dr. Paul Kalanithi to glean any wisdom available. Their books gave me the opportunity to understand the feelings of a physician and the interactions that are crucial to help patients.”

Receiving the Rudolph Student Book Award has served as validation for Tarun’s collecting endeavors.

“This scholarship affirms my love for reading and collecting books, and that Ohio State supports my passion for learning and exploration,” he says. “This scholarship also gives me the opportunity to purchase many books in the future!”

“I initially began my book collection as a way to not think about library extensions,” says Tarun. “Since then, my collection has gained a greater purpose. I hope to sit down in another ten years and see what new values and lessons I have gained from my growing book collection.”