Readers’ Choice List Policies & Procedures

YALSA’s Readers’ Choice list seeks to engage a wide audience of librarians, educators, teens and young adult literature enthusiasts in choosing the most popular teen titles in a given year, as organized by broad genres.  The list will also provide librarians with a timely means of identifying popular teen titles on an ongoing basis.  Nominations will be posted monthly, with a final vote taking place each November.  Any individual, provided he/she is not the author or an employee of the publisher, or a current member of the Readers’ Choice List Committee may nominate a title via an online form, while only YALSA members are eligible to vote for the final ballot.

Purpose of the List

To aid librarians in encouraging young adults to read for pleasure by presenting lists of the year’s popular or topical titles that represent a broad variety of themes and genres with teen appeal.

  • The books selected for this list are for young adults, ages twelve to eighteen.  The primary audience for the lists is librarians, who are encouraged to use the lists as a readers’ advisory and/or collection development tool. 
  • Any individual may nominate a title, so long as he/she is not the author or an employee of the publisher or a current member of the Readers’ Choice List Committee; however, only YALSA members receive the right to vote for the final ballot.

Committee: YALSA has a standing committee to oversee the nomination and voting process.

  • Charge: To oversee the development of YALSA’s annual Readers’ Choice List, including confirming the genres/categories; receiving, organizing and vetting the nominations; and assisting staff with disseminating nominations and conducting the online vote in November. 
  • Members: Seven virtual committee members, including a Chair, are appointed by YALSA's President-Elect and may serve up to two one-year terms. The first year will be a trial year, and the member may serve an additional one-year term based on the member's first year performance and his/her interest and availability in serving another year.
  • Chair: One member of the committee will be appointed by the President-Elect to serve as Chair for a one-year term. While the primary role of the Chair is to facilitate the work of the Committee, the Chair will have the right to participate in all Committee activities.
  • Organization: The Committee may operate as a committee of the whole, collectively vetting the nominations in each of the categories, or it may wish to subdivide so that each of its members is responsible for vetting a single category.  In order to ensure the timeliness of the list, each year’s committee will have the latitude to select its own additional ‘wild card’ category, if it so chooses, to supplement the six broad categories that are used each year: horror/thriller, mystery/crime, nonfiction, realistic fiction, romance and science fiction/fantasy.
  • Responsibilities:
    • The primary role of the committee is to vet and track the nomination forms and use that information to compile monthly nomination lists and to create the final ballot. 
    • Nominations are only vetted to ensure that titles meet eligibility requirements, as stated below. 
    • Each year the committee may opt to choose one ‘wild card’ category to be added to the existing six categories.  ‘Wild card’ categories should be selected by genre, not format, and they may not conflict or overlap with other YALSA selected lists.   If the committee opts to create a ‘wild card’ category, it will be in effect for a full year.
    • Periodically (every 3 to 5 years) the committee will evaluate the six recurring topics to ensure that they still have wide appeal with teens, and make any adjustments if necessary.
    • It is not the responsibility of the committee to nominate titles; however, committee members may cast their vote in the final ballot.
  • Ethics
  • Committee members are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards at all times and to represent YALSA with integrity.   Participation in YALSA's committees is subject to the observance of the organization's policies and procedures as outlined in YALSA’s Handbook.
  • Committee members must not solicit publishers for free personal copies of books or materials. If members receive, or are offered, unsolicited copies of books or materials from publishers, they may accept the titles.
  • Committee members must not solicit publishers for favors, invitations, etc. If members receive these, however, they will use their own judgment in accepting in accordance with the conflict of interest policy mentioned above. Publishers understand that such acceptance in no way influences members’ actions or selections.
  • Committee members must not attempt in any way to manipulate the list of nominations, the final ballot or the voting process.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Titles must be published between November 1 of the prior year and October 31 of the current year. 
    • If a title has been published in a foreign country prior to publication and release in the United States, then the US copyright is regarded as the official copyright for the purpose of this list.
  • Titles must be widely available in the United States.
  • Only titles marketed by a publisher for a teen/young adult audience may be considered.
  • Popularity takes precedence over literary quality.
  • Titles must be identified with one of the stated broad categories: horror/thriller, mystery/crime, nonfiction, realistic fiction, romance, science fiction/fantasy, and the ‘wild card’ that each committee chooses annually.
  • Materials in different formats, such as graphic novels and poetry, are eligible for the list but must be identified with a particular category.
  • Nominations from authors or publishers for their own titles are not eligible for the list.  Nominations are not eligible from current Readers’ Choice List Committee members.
  • Standard selection criteria consistent with the ALA Library Bill of Rights shall be applied.

Nomination Process

  • Nominations will be accepted via online forms on YALSA’s web site at beginning in February each year and will continue to be accepted throughout October of the same year. 
  • Any title that is nominated that does not meet the stated eligibility requirements as listed above, will be rejected. 
  • Any individual, provided he/she is not the author or an employee of the publisher, may submit a nomination. 
  • In order for a title to appear on the ballot, it must receive a minimum number of nominations.  For the 2011 list, 25 nominations are recommended as a starting point.
  • An individual title could be nominated in more than one category.  If this is the case, it will appear in each category on the nominations lists.  However, it will appear on the final ballot only in the category for which it received the most nominations. 

Voting Process

The final ballot will be made available to YALSA members the first week of November.  YALSA members will have at least two weeks to submit their vote via an online ballot.  Members will vote to identify the top five (by number of votes) titles in each of the individual categories.  While an individual title may be nominated for more than one category, it will appear on the final ballot only in the category for which it received the most nominations.  In order to be eligible to participate in the vote, YALSA members’ membership status must be current as of October 1.  Readers’ Choice List Committee members are each eligible to cast a vote in the final ballot.

Availability of Nominations, Ballot & Winners

The nominations will be updated at the start of each month beginning in February and made available through YALSA’s web site.  The final ballot will be available to YALSA members only the first week of November, and the winners will be posted online the first week of December.

Use and Reproduction

YALSA's Readers’ Choice List may be reproduced under "fair use" standards.  As stated in Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976, factors to be considered shall include:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • The nature of the copyrighted work;
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

Sample citation

YALSA Readers’ Choice List Committee.  "2011 Readers’ Choice List."

Young Adult Library Services Association. [insert date published on the web]. Young Adult Library Services Association, Web. [insert date accessed by user]. (

For more information about acceptable use of YALSA's lists of recommended reading, and/or to request permission to reproduce the list, please contact ALA's Rights and Permission Manager at