Minnie James (1865-1903) was appointed assistant librarian at the People's Palace for East London in 1887. Two years later, in 1889, she became head librarian.
The People's Palace was opened in 1887 to provide technical training and recreation for the people of the East End of London, and eventually became what is now Queen Mary, University of London.
James played an important role in building the collections of the People's Palace Library. Her writings display respect and sympathy for the library's working-class clientele, whom she tried to accommodate by adequate opening times and by the acquisition of novels and light reading.
She is also recognised for her work to promote librarianship as a profession for women.