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Book Selection Process

The annual selection process for the Common Reading was developed by the First-Year Experience Taskforce in November 2007.  Fliers and e-mails are sent to faculty, staff, students, and community members each fall semester to solicit suggestions for a new Common Reading. Nominations are taken year-round and can be submitted by anyone wishing to recommend a book by emailing author and title to

Typically, around 50 suggestions are received, all of which are analyzed based on criteria of appeal, cost, length and availability. These books are procured with assistance from the Scarborough Library and read by members of the Common Reading Selection Committee over Winter Break. In January, the committee meets again to discuss and reanalyze the list, narrowing the number down to five semi-final selections. During the months of February and March an open vote is held via the Shepherd University homepage and Common Reading website, and the book with the highest number of votes is selected as the next Common Reading. 

Current members of the Common Reading Selection Committee include:

Faculty & Staff: Shannon Holliday (chair), Sylvia Shurbutt, Heidi Hanrahan, Brian Santana, Laura Robertson, LeAnn Johnson, Sally Brasher, Michelle Ricketts, & Rhonda Donaldson

Students: Abby McClung, Isabella Sager, Nate Hodgkinson, Sarah Seibert, & Tanner Boeckmann

Community Members: Judi McIntyre, Carolyn Rodis, Mary Watters, Nancy Stewart, Becky Phipps, Joan Ergin, Susan Kern, Jennifer Gerholdt, Mary Watters, John Deupree, & Rachel Hally

To nominate a book email