Stark Depression-Era Photos of People Reading, From Shelters to Libraries

This month, Yale released an archive of thousands of Depression-era photos by iconic photographers who were commissioned by the government to document the effect of the hard times on the nation.

As they explain it:

In order to build support for and justify government programs, the Historical Section set out to document America, often at her most vulnerable, and the successful administration of relief service. The Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) produced some of the most iconic images of the Great Depression and World War II and included photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein who shaped the visual culture of the era both in its moment and in American memory. Unit photographers were sent across the country.

At Flavorwire, we’ve been poring through the archives to find some our favorite examples of people consuming culture even in a bleak period for the country. Here’s a collection of photos we found of people reading, in places that vary from schools to farms to mining shacks.