These days, Google is responsible for about 70% of the internet traffic. Google likes links and if you want visitors to your website you need to have plenty of incoming links pointing at your site. The best way to have incoming links to your website is to provide useful and original content that other website owners want to share with their visitors. Local organizations such as the chamber of commerce, library, civic clubs, etc. will be happy to link to your website if they feel it is useful to their members.
Another way to get incoming links to your website is to trade links with other website owners and this is where a reciprocal links page becomes handy. This process works great especially if the link exchange partners are related by businesses, geographical location, or other factor. Therefore, it is a good idea to contact your suppliers, customers, partners, non-competitive resources, etc., and get reciprocal links. Please note that these links are on your website so protect your image and be careful who you get associated with.
To make a long story short, having a links page is not necessary but it is strongly recommended.
Alain Houle, President
Alco Web Design LLC - http://www.alcowebdesign.com
N1337 Westgreen drive, Greenville Wisconsin 54942