Readers' Advisory: Bias in Readers' Advisory Services

Laurel Tarulli


Last week, while reading through the posts on one of our professional Listservs, a query came across asking for recommendations. This colleague indicated that she had been asked to make available weekly a collection of timely news articles to keep her community informed on politics and current events; however, as a self-proclaimed strong left-wing liberal, she has no knowledge of conservative resources. This gave me pause. As people, we have our viewpoints, opinions, and political leanings, but should our personal preferences have such a profound influence on our users that, up until now, this colleague didn’t realize or concern herself with the fact that she had been providing reading suggestions that reflected her world view, and not necessarily that of the entire community? Indeed, as informational professionals, shouldn’t we strive to know all of the available resources and viewpoints, even if we choose to seek only one perspective in our personal lives?

Full Text:



Carol Duncan, Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums (New York: Routledge, 1995).

“Readers’ Advisory Service,” Southern Ontario Library Association, accessed November 12, 2017,



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