What Inspires: Random Reading Opportunities Phone booths are all but obsolete...Page turners are being replaced by electronic scroll bars...Libraries are being cut as callously as carbs from the At kin's Diet. Still, book lovers find a way...
A while back I read how the kitsch red British phone booths were being tossed into the Public Works refuse lots and left to rot. Until, that is, book starved folks in rural areas began turning them into lending libraries. I wondered how it came about: Did someone desperate to make a call, maybe in need of roadside assistance, race into a phone booth, dial and dash. And in his/her haste leave behind a pocket novel, which was picked up some days later by a passer-bye who picked it up and read it. Then, a good read later, returned it, along with a few of his/her pre-read selections, to the phone booth. Maybe even called a friend to tell them of this brilliant deposit/depository and thus the phone-booth turned honor-system lending library--a "free" library in the truest sense--was born. No matter how it started, the craze caught on and now red British phone booths are being refurbished and redeposited as libraries.
Folks in Clinton, New York caught onto the Phone Booth-turned-Library trend with "America's Littlest Library" http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/891988-264/town_of_clinton_ny_opens.html.csp
I've noticed how phone booths in the U.S are similarly disappearing; In other countries, too. They are disappearing so quickly that at the brand-new Jakarta airport terminal they installed the phone stations but never even bothered with the phones...instead the kiosks are and seem destined to remain un-phoned. Sad how phone booths in the UK become libraries while U.S. phone booths have become toilets... what's that say? (I digress...)
But not all of them! NYC Architect, John Locke, is refurbishing phone booths for use as libraries. He's designed a shelving unit that fits inside the phone booth casing easily.
Then a note about the newest wave in libraries flew across my screen and bouyed my spirits: Birdhouse Libraries. These lending libraries mounted on poles look more like marten houses. But they are definitely not for the birds. A not-for-profit organization called "Little Free Library" http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/ has taken it upon itself :
- To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
- To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
- To build more than 2,510 libraries around the world--more than Andrew Carnegie!
By setting up these road-sized lending libraries all over the place. The website shares lots of examples of these Book Houses. There are even directions how to build your own. Why not build one and mount it in your own front yard.Phone Booths . Birdhouse Libraries.Say, maybe--with the state of the postal service--mailbox libraries are next?