Book Review Guidelines

Updated 17 January 2017

It is the goal of our book review section to provide library users with useful and interesting information about the various contents of our library. With this in mind, our library is most interested in critical book reviews that allow our users to consequently make the most informed decisions possible about their learning. With that said, it is important that your unique voice and individuality can be recognized by the reader as well.

Purpose of the Review

The purpose of a book review is not just to summarize the work (although this is certainly an important aspect of any review) but to analyze and evaluate the writing as well. This means that the writer’s arguments and methods are taken into consideration and assessed according to a general standard. The key to writing a great, informative book review is always reading critically.


Although we encourage unique writing and freedom of expression, there are a few components that should be present in any proper book review:

  • Background on the book/media: This includes relevant historical or social information on the topic, as well as any biases the author may hold that inform your reading of the piece.
  • Evaluate the media: A succinct statement of your overall evaluation of the work should be present in the first paragraph of your review.
  • Evidence: As you argue your evaluation, it is imperative that you explain and show why you’ve come to such a conclusion.

Feel free to email us or come into the office at any time to discuss your review and acquire advice on your writing.


There are no required style guidelines for our review page, however it is encouraged that you choose a method of citation you’re comfortable with and stick to it. Consistency is essential to any good piece of writing!


In preparation for writing your review, please check out our submission form for a review proposal on the OPIRG Guelph Library’s website. This gives us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the work to be examined, while also providing a general timeline by which to expect a finished piece. Anyone who wishes may submit a review.

Finished reviews should be submitted in either .docx (Microsoft Word) or .pdf (PDF) format and can be sent via email to or dropped off at our office during any regular hours, which can also be found on our website ( Submitted reviews will be proofread by our library staff and may be returned with recommendations for editing/revision. We want our reviews to reflect you as an author, however it is important that we also ensure their accessibility to a wider audience.


All accepted reviews will be posted on the OPIRG Library website under our review section. With the agreement of the author, select pieces may be submitted to local publishing companies for additional exposure. Reviewed works may also be added to our library’s in-house “Featured” section with a copy of your review to be seen by our various library visitors.

For additional information on writing a formal book review, a detailed guide can be found on the Australian National University’s website: