Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Libraries, libraries, everywhere (and we mean everywhere)

Phone Booth BlueDo you have a cell phone?

Of course you do.  Everyone does.  So what will become of all those public pay phone booths that no one needs anymore?

Columbia architecture grad John Locke has an idea: turn them into public bookshelves.  Reports The Atlantic Cities:

[I]n the past few months, the Columbia architecture grad has slipped around Manhattan with a sack of books and custom-made shelves, converting old pay phones into pop-up libraries.

The concept, sponsored by Locke’s imaginary Department of Urban Betterment, is that New Yorkers will pick up unfamiliar titles while running their errands and then, perhaps, replace them the next day with favorite books of their own. That’s in an ideal world. Of the two guerrilla libraries that the artist has fashioned, one has been used properly while the other has had its entire collection repeatedly ganked by sticky-fingered pedestrians. Its shelves were also stolen.

Undaunted, Locke has plans for more.  (Visit The Atlantic Cities for photos of Locke’s bookshelves and an interview with the artist.)

New York isn’t the only place mini-libraries are popping up, either!  In Portland, tiny lending libraries in boxes are popping up everywhere. Across the pond, public bookshelves are appearing across Germany, and London is working out a scheme for book-swaps in Tube stations in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Where could we start pop-up mini-libraries in other cities? Street corners? In subway stations? Share your ideas below!

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