PhD Studentship: Portsmouth’s Public Libraries in the Long Twentieth Century – PHD OPPORTUNITY

Date / time: 31 May, 11:59 pm

PhD Studentship: Portsmouth’s Public Libraries in the Long Twentieth Century - PHD OPPORTUNITY


Fully funded PhD Studentship, including tuition fees and stipend/bursary. 
Application deadline: 31 May 2024

This project will critically investigate the role of Portsmouth’s public libraries since the service’s establishment in 1883, identifying key periods in their history where discussions about their social function were played out most vociferously. Since their establishment, public libraries have been spaces for community building, and debates have raged over library usage, including the library’s role as educator, the types of literature provided, the sorts of books users borrowed, as well as their ability to function as community spaces that aid the nation’s wellbeing. The student could focus on as yet unspecified periods between their founding and the present. There will be a particular emphasis on how the service was mediated and used, a hitherto neglected area of study. The mediation of the service will be compared to and contrasted with the actual experience of the service’s users through archival holdings and oral testimonies with past and present-day workers and users. This will be set within the broader context of society’s leisure participation and include a critical examination of the class, gendered and ethnic identities of leisure consumption.

The project draws on Portsmouth City Council’s library and related holdings. Based at the University of Portsmouth, the student will have access to collections through PCC’s Museums, Libraries and Archives service (PCCMLA), along with archival material held nationally. The student will build a history of the role, mediation and use of public libraries, providing valuable insights for PCCMLA into the development of a model for future understandings of the library service’s function.

For further details, including how to apply, follow this link: