Policies and Procedures


To support lifelong learning by preparing a revised and updated edition of the annotated Outstanding Books for the College Bound booklist to guide students of all ages planning to continue their education beyond high school. The booklist is updated every five years.


To provide reading recommendations to students of all ages who plan to continue their education beyond high school.


The lists are primarily intended for students in grades 9-12 who wish to enrich and strengthen their knowledge of various subject areas in both classic and contemporary literature.

The lists can be used both by students wishing to round out their reading before entering college and by those taking college entrance examinations such as the ACT and SAT.

The lists can also be used by young adults and adults who are lifelong learners wishing to increase or update their knowledge of literature in areas covered by the lists.

Committee Members

The committee will consist of 15 members who are appointed by the YALSA Vice President/President-Elect for a one year term beginning immediately after the conclusion of one Midwinter Meeting and ending at the conclusion of the following Midwinter.

The committee size is 15 members, and an administrative assistant, if requested. Up to five members from ACRL may be appointed.


The Chair will be appointed for a one year term by the Vice President/President Elect. 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. Access to the Internet and a willingness to communicate continuously and electronically with committee members are requirements for chairing the committee.

Committee Organization

The Chair will organize the committee in a way that will get the work done in the most efficient manner. The committee may operate as a committee of the whole or in subcommittees according to categories.

Selection Criteria

  • Standard selection criteria consonant with the ALA Library Bill of Rights shall be applied.
  • Although copyright is not a consideration, all titles should be widely available.
  • Each category may have a special set of criteria.
  • Books can be in print or out of print, in hardcover or paperback.
  • Books that have appeared on earlier Outstanding Books lists or are available in revised editions are eligible.


The committee may select up to five (5) categories. The traditional categories for Outstanding Books are: The Arts, Biography, Fiction, and Nonfiction. Poetry has sometimes been a separate category, sometimes not. A Now/Current category was used for a time. Plays have been a subcategory of The Arts. There may be some variance in selected categories depending on the trends in society and in publishing. There may be subcategories, as well.

Suggested Selection Procedures

Determine categories.

Determine criteria, if needed, for selection in each category.

Review titles in

Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation, ALA, 2011 to determine which titles should be reconsidered.

Survey other lists of recommended books and look for titles that are recommended in several sources. The following sources may be helpful:

  • Good Reading: A Guide for Serious Readers, Bowker, 1990.
  • Books for You, latest ed., NCTE.
  • Senior High School Library Catalog, latest ed., H.W. Wilson.
  • Best Books for Young Adults: the Selection, the History, the Romance, ALA, 1994.
  • Best Books for Young Adults, second edition, ALA, 2000.
  • Fifty Years of Notable Books, Booklist Publications, 1996.
  • Reading Lists for College Bound Students, third edition, Prentice-Hall, 2000.
  • Recommended Reading: 5000 Classics Reviewed, Salem Press, 1995.
  • New Lifetime Reading Plan, by Clifton Fadiman, HarperCollins, 1999.

Bibliographies from specific subject areas.

Current reviews and retrospective reviews.

Annual lists of outstanding and notable books.

Construct a working list of possible titles for study and reading.

Select up to twenty-five (25) titles for each category.

Voting Procedures

The committee will determine its own voting procedure, however, most committees use a simple or a two-thirds majority for their final vote.


Using "Procedures for Writing and Publishing Annotations" (YALSA Handbook, VII-4), determine bibliographic information needed and style required for annotations.

Locate essential bibliographic information according to the "Procedures for Writing and Publishing Annotations" and verify author, title, and publisher's name.

Write annotations that will appeal to young adults.

The Chair must turn in to the YALSA staff by the end of the 2014 Midwinter Meeting a completed list of "Outstanding Books" by category, arranged alphabetically by author within each category, in electronic format.