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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 all faculty, staff and students each fall semester to solicit suggestions for a new Common Reading. Nominations are taken year-round and can be submitted by emailing author and title to

Typically, over 100 suggestions are received, all of which are analyzed based on criteria of appeal, cost, length and availability. The number of books is then narrowed to approximately 20, and these books are 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, all Shepherd University students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the local community, are encouraged to vote for their first choice via the Shepherd homepage and Common Reading website. The book with the highest number of votes is selected as the next Common Reading.