Posts Tagged ‘community created library’

Clark Kent’s no longer the only one who can step into a phone booth and walk out a superhero. Now anyone in Westbury-sub-Mendip can. All it takes is a little imagination, belief in the power of literature, and this phone booth:

Faced with the prospect of losing their phone booth, residents of Westbury-sub-Mendip (located in southwestern England) decided to buy it from British Telecom for £1. Shortly thereafter they learned that BT was holding a national competition for innovative uses of these old phone booths. After tossing around a few ideas during a tea party, one of the residents came up with idea of transforming it into a book exchange. Having recently lost their mobile library service just a few months prior, this was the perfect solution. Shelves were installed and filled with books donated by the residents.

The guidelines for using the book exchange are simple: take a book, leave a book. There are over 100 books in the Westbury Book Exchange and the turnover rate is high. The shelves are regularly monitored and any books that aren’t moving are donated to a local charity shop. The phone booth is lit at night and it stays open 24/7, 365 days a year. Community response to the mini library has been overwhelmingly positive; the residents treat it with respect and the shelves are always full.

Love it!

Three very hearty cheers for the Westbury Book Exchange!

Sources: BBC, BBC (again), The Guardian, Inhabitat, Toronto Star

Photo credit: Alex (thanks!)

Read the Library Love Fine Print here.

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This week’s Library Love isn’t just one library. It’s more like . . . 300.

It started out as one library. In 2009 Todd Bol built a small library designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse in honor of his mother, a former teacher. He stuck it on a post, filled it with books, and put it outside his home in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Now there are hundreds of little libraries all over the country and scattered around the globe. Some of them look like houses or barns; others just look like boxes. The little library in Syracuse, New York is inside an abandoned telephone box near a bus stop.But no matter what they look like on the outside, all the little libraries contain free books for the public to borrow and the motto, “Take a book, leave a book.” Volunteer stewards look after the little libraries, restocking them whenever necessary.

Little Free Library, near Cafe Zoma

Little Free Library is now a joint venture run by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks. They provide plans and tips for people who want to build their own libraries and also sell the libraries ready-made. They have a website, a Facebook page, a blog, and a Google map showing the locations of all the little libraries. Their goal is to break Andrew Carnegie’s record of 2,509 free libraries. Based on the response they’ve had in just three short years, I think they can do it.  And wouldn’t it be awesome if they did??

We don’t have any Little Free Libraries in Virginia (drat!), but hopefully that will change soon. What about you? Are there any near you? Would you or anyone you know want to start one?

Three cheers for ALL the Little Free Libraries!

Little Free Library by WI Literacy Network wisconsinliteracy dot org

Sources: Little Free Library, Library Journal, Madison Originals Magazine, The Park Bugle, The Post-Standard, USA Today, Wisconsin State Journal. Check out the Little Free Library’s media page for more articles about the project.

Photo credits: Top photo – Jeremy Cusker; bottom photo – Bill. Both libraries are in Madison, Wisconsin.

EDIT: See Library Love: The Fine Print. (edited on 3/11/12)

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