In it's search for a new image for the District of Colombia, Mayor Marion Barry's Committee to Promote Tourism has decided to award a $25,000 contract to an advertising agency to produce, amoung other things, a city slogan.

"We'd like something catchy," said lawyer R. Robert Linowes, chairman of the committee. "We want to develop an image of Washington, D.C., as something more than just a group of government buildings."

Committee members, troubled that Washington sometimes suffers rather than benefits from its identity as the national seat of government, recently asked advertising companies to submit proposals for creating a slogan, a theme, a logo and a tourism marketing strategy.

Ten responses came back, and a committee now is reviewing them.

Funds for the contract would come from the committee's own appropriation of city funds and funds appropriated to the Convention Center now being built downtown.

Linowes said the slogan idea first was proposed by Paul O'Neil, vice president of the Hotel Association of Washington. It grew out of the committee's envy of the success of the "I Love New York" campaign.

Annette Samuels, the mayor's press secretary, said Barry has no specific slogan ideas of his own but "wants something that's upbeat, something that the people of Washington can identify with."

Asked if $25,000 was too much for the financially pinched city to spend, Samuels replied, "Other cities have slogans -- he [Barry] feels we should have one, too."

The wise men who crossed the Holy Land on camelback at the time of Jesus' birth had no known problem with that form of transportation, but a Virginia Beach woman contends -- in a lawsuit filed in her hometown -- that it's a dangerous way to travel.

Roberta Berman filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against her husband's employer, the Electrolux Corp., asserting that she was injured when she fell off a camel while on a company-sponsored trip to Egypt. The couple was en route to the Giza pyramids when the camel reared, according to the complaint.

Electrolux and the travel agency that arranged the trip "knew or should have known camel travel was dangerous," the complaint asserts.

It isn't even 1982, but a Maryland state agency already has announced plans to take applications for student jobs during next summer's vacation.

The State Highway Administration said it will receive applications at all State Employment Service offices between Dec. 28 and Jan. 8 for 150 summer jobs in highway maintenance, construction inspection, traffic and drafting.

To qualify, a student must be a Marylander returning to college in the fall or who is 18 years old and entering college.

According to a Roanoke newspaper, John T. Casteen III, dean of undergradute admissions and an associate professor of English at the University of Virginia, will become Gov.-elect Charles S. Robb's secretary of education.

Casteen is an advocate of higher educational standards. In an interview last summer, he complained that college applicants are taking fewer courses in mathematics, science and foreign languages and avoiding tough advanced courses.

"It's astounding the number of applicants who can't write a literate essay," he said.

Casteen would replace J. Wade Gilley, education secretary under outgoing Gov. John N. Dalton, who has taken a post at George Mason University in Fairfax County. Dalton yesterday named S. John Davis, state superintendent of public instruction and former Fairfax County school superintendent, to be acting secretary.

Here's another Virginia political item. A telephone poll of 430 voters taken by Richard Wirthlin for the National Republican Congressional Committee indicated that state Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman would be the party's best hope for retaining the House seat being vacated next year by Rep. M. Caldwell Butler.

Coleman, defeated for governor by Robb, had a 99 percent name recognition in the poll of the nine-county 6th Congressional District, with a 60 percent favorable rating. State Sen. Ray L. Garland (R-Roanoke), the only announced candidate for Butler's seat, had 71 percent recognition and a 40 percent favorable rating.

Del. Richard Cranwell (D-Roanoke), considered his party's frontrunner, had a 64 percent recognition factor in the GOP-sponsored poll, with 35 percent favorable.