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Reference and Subscription Books Review Committee | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Reference and Subscription Books Review Committee

Historical Note:

In 1926 the Executive Board authorized the appointment of a committee to investigate the problems of subscription books.  In 1928, the formal desgination of the Subscription Books Committee was made (1).

At its conception the Subscription Books Committee's main purpose was to inform library, school, and home purchasers of the quality of major reference works and subscription books.  This goal was initially carried out through the advisory publication, Subscription Books Bulletin, and subsequent publications Booklist and Subscription Books Bulletin and Reference Books Bulletin.

The Subscription Books Committee has gone through two name changes.  At the 1969 Midwinter Conference the name of the Subscription Books Committee was changed to Reference and Subscription Books Review Committee (2).  At the 1983 Midwinter Conference, both the name and status of the Committee were changed.  It became the Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board, and its status was changed from that of an autonomous standing committee to that of a subcommittee of the Publishing Committee (3).

Despite the many change in name and status throughout the history of the Subscription Books Committee, the overall objectives and responsibilities remain the same, and include:

1.  accumulation of information about books sold on the subscription basis and comparable publications.

2.  preparation of reviews and editorial comments about books for the Reference Books Bulletin.

3.  receiving of reports of questionable sales practices affecting such books and transmitting substantiated facts to the proper local, state, or federal agency.

4.  publishing of the findings of these agencies in the Reference Books Bulletin when authorized for release.

5.  acting only as an evaluating agency, not as an advisory group (4).



2-Omnibus Reviews (subcommittee)

3-Microfilm Resources (subcommittee)

4-Online Sources (subcommittee)

5-Conference Program Planning (subcommittee)

6-Editorial Space Needs (subcommittee)


1.  Booklist, 1969, 66:2, p. 68.

2.  ALA Council, Minutes, 1969 Midwinter Conference, January 29-30, 1969, p. 9.

3.  News Release, July 1983.

4.  ALA Handbook of Organization, 1984-85, p. 21-22.

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