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Title: The public librarian in modern London (1890-1914) : the case of Charles Goss at the Bishopsgate Institute
Author: Johansen, Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 105X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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Charles Goss (1864-1946) was one among the pioneering set of librarians in charge of London's first wave of public libraries in the 1890s and early 1900s. He was chief librarian of Lewisham rate-assisted library in south-east London from 1891 until 1897 when he moved to the Bishopsgate Institute, a charitable library and cultural institution situated on the border of the City and the East End. Goss remained in charge at the Institute until 1941. In 1895, he co-founded the Society of Public Librarians (SPL), a group of thirty-plus London Chief and Deputy Public Librarians who met monthly until 1930 to discuss professional issues and offer mutual support and friendship. Using the writings of Goss, the SPL archive, public library records and library journals, this thesis describes the occupational experience of this set of librarians. It also examines their treatment in the secondary material on public library development. Because of their stance during an intraprofessional dispute over how readers should access the material on the library shelves (the socalled open access debates), Goss and his SPL colleagues have been marginalised in library historiography. The thesis revisits and assesses their standpoint during the open access contest. It then uses their professional experience as a means of accessing wider historical debates around social class and identity. According to profession and income, this group of men were lower-middle class. Expressed more precisely, however, Goss and his SPL colleagues were at the mid-point of a journey from the working to the middle class. The thesis attends to the duality of their class location. Informed by the occupational identity they collectively favoured, it provides a nuanced assessment of 'lower middle', an assessment which accommodates elements of working-class comradeship and modes of expression alongside the middle-class attributes more usually associated with this subaltern class fraction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available