We keep hearing that libraries are obsolete, that we need to reinvent ourselves to stay relevant. I would posit that libraries have become an integral part of society, and we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss our value to our respective communities.
Case in point, the village of Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset. Having lost their mobile library (which I assume was akin to our bookmobiles) they created a new lending library…..in a phone booth.
Villagers from Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset can use the library around the clock, selecting books, DVDs and CDs.
Users simply stock it with a book they have read, swapping it for one they have not.
“It’s really taken off. The books are constantly changing,” said parish councillor Bob Dolby.
He added: “It is completely full at the moment with books. Anyone is free to come and take a book and leave one that you have already read.
“This facility has turned a piece of street furniture into a community service in constant use.”
A resident dreamed up the idea when the village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession.
Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council bought the phone box from BT in a national scheme for a token £1.
BT has received 770 applications for communities to ‘adopt a kiosk’, and so far 350 boxes have been handed over to parish councils.
Phone boxes have been turned into art installations, a shower and even a public toilet.
Fabulous. Great photo, too, if you wander over to the BBC News.