Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



Published in Library Philosophy and Practice (2011) 12 p.


Literary theorist Wolfgang Iser describes reading as a creative process in and of itself, which adds layers of meaning and understanding to a text. However, little attention is paid to this theory in most Library and Information Science Programs. Because librarians understand the relationships that can exist between readers and books and how strongly books can impact readers’ lives, we should have a deeper understand of what reader response (or reception) theory is. There are a number of ways that we can apply reader response theory to the work we do, including providing readers’ advisory services, developing collections, reviewing books and other materials, sponsoring community reading programs, and leading book discussion groups. However, further research is still needed to investigate the long term impact of incorporating reader response theory into collection development and other professional responsibilities.