Reciprocal linking operates under the idea that if you link to me, I'll link to you. This tactic became popular around the time that the PageRank (PR) tool debuted. If we could all go back to linking practices before PR came out, we'd have an ideal "linking" world today. The PR tool started a "link exchange frenzy"; with the hopes of artificially inflating ones rankings as the end goal. That spawned link farms, bad neighborhoods, etc. If you link with the end result being that you've provided a great resource for your users, you're doing nothing "wrong". That is how linking was done before PR. Now days (as you'll see in the articles below) reciprocal linking has become somewhat devalued (just like the keyword meta tag and the description meta tag - abused and used).
So what can you do? Build a site that is "link worthy" - or "link bait" as you'll hear in the SEO circles. Content so compelling that people will want to link to it without you having to ask them "organic linking". As always, the 1st rule of thumb for SEO is, if you're going out of your way to employ a tactic solely for hopes of increasing rankings, it's probably spam and frowned upon by the search engines.
Related Links and Resources
Google Discusses Link Building Strategies
Stop The Freak Out Over Linking - Danny Sullivan
Tell me about your backlinks - Matt Cutts
The Link Building Conundrum - Eric Ward's View
To sum up, even though improved algorithms have promoted a transition away from paid or exchanged links towards earned organic links, there still seems to be some confusion within the market about what the most effective link strategy is.