Diane Pham

New UK Library Fits Within a Phone Booth

by , 12/02/09

sustainable design, green design, recycled materials, phone box library, westbury sub mendip, public space, urban design

London is calling! Actually, it’s Westbury-sub-Mendip’s new 24-hour phone booth library! After witnessing their weekly mobile library disappear, this wee town in the south of England town wasn’t going to let their iconic phone booth be taken away as well. Conceived by a local resident as a way to save a bit of history while satiating the curious minds of the township, the classic phone booth was recycled into what has now become one of the country’s smallest libraries.

sustainable design, green design, recycled materials, phone box library, westbury sub mendip, public space, urban design

The bright red phone booth was purchased by the Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish council from BT for a mere £1, and residents soon began to install shelves and stock them with books that they’ve read, with the opportunity of swapping them out for ones they’ve not. A major success, the library is filled with over 100 choices ranging from cookbooks to classics, from blockbuster DVDs to old school CDs.

While traditional in its aesthetic, the library has a very convenient modern feature: it’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and even lit at night for those who want a book to curl up with a book before dozing off. In order to keep the selection fresh, there is even a regular check to determine which titles are moving — those failing to capture the eyes of the locals are shipped off to a charity shop.

The inspired reuse of phone booths has become so attractive that BT has received 770 applications from communities seeking to ‘adopt a kiosk’. 350 have already found new lives as art installations, showers and even public toilets.

Via BBC News

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1 Comment

  1. DavidTLang December 4, 2009 at 10:37 am

    This is fantastic! I love that the community has come together to create an interesting, beautiful, and useful new life for the phone booth. I think it’s interesting to see how much more engaged people and communities are when they come together to create things together. The aspects of sharing and shared responsibility can be used to create something interesting, beautiful, and useful as well as meaningful. It doesn’t seem that they employ or use any type of security. I’m interested to learn more about how sharing inspires civic responsibility.

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