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Where Superman gets books? Library opens in old phone booth

libraryPhone boothphone boxSomersetWestbury-sub-Mendip

Townspeople in a village in Somerset, England, now have a new library -- a decommissioned classic red phone booth (locals there would call it a phone box). It's more of a location for swapping books than an official library --  there are no late fees, and no room for a librarian. But there is enough space to store about 100 books and DVDs, which people are free to take and return at their leisure.

The idea came to a local resident when Westbury-sub-Mendip, the small Somerset village, "lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession,"  the BBC reports.

British Telecom has been unplugging the classic phone booths by the hundreds. Some have been turned into art projects. One is a shower; another a public toilet. The one in Somerset seems to be the first to become a lending library.

While 100 books makes for a rather small collection, it seems to be enough for Westbury-sub-Mendip, which boasts a population of 800.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: A row of phone boxes four times the size of the new Westbury-sub-Mendip library. Credit: Matt Dunham / Associated Press

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That is really neat. I'm not sure how the system works but it would be really great if people started to leave more books inside. The more people who read the better!

As a librarian, with a Master's degree in Information Resources and Library Studies and many years of outreach activity behind me (I was a bookmobile librarian), I applaud this quiet way to promote reading and bibliographic interest in the community. It doesn't surprise me that what connects people is the first to go these days.

Those things are much too good to scrap! Consider how much it would cost to make something of that quality today, no part of which was made or assembled in some far place which is hostile to the US + Europe. Some bright souls could think of 100s of used for those.

Wonderful idea. A big issue with traditional libraries is convenience - there's anywhere from one to just a few locations for lending and returning. These little mini-libraries are a great way to up the convenience factor (plus they look great).


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