The Mass-Observation Archive contains a large amount of evidence, stretching back to the 1930s, of the British public's daily lives and its attitudes to local, national, and international issues and events. The archive's data-collection method takes the form of essay-style contributions submitted from anonymous volunteer correspondents who write in response to "directives": requests for commentary on particular subjects that can range from the everyday to the momentous. This article exploits evidence relating to the use of public libraries from two directives issued by the archive: "Regular Pastimes" (1988) and "Public Libraries" (1999). Evidence includes reminiscences from users regarding how libraries changed during the twentieth century and on the part the public library played in their lives: in short, the role of the library in the life of the user over time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Library and Information Sciences