Do popular audiences use libraries?

Though it is difficult to come to a clear definition of the “popular classes”, the term does cover a social reality that should not be marginalised. In terms of evaluating library use, qualitative sociology offers a nuanced answer that lies beyond the reach of basic statistical analysis of the under-representation of adult readers from a popular social background. The issue of uses and representations is key in understanding the full range of issues, misunderstandings, expectations, and power relationships underlying the bond between popular audiences and libraries, which, as cultural institutions, are currently undergoing significant change.