Monday, 1 September 2014

The Red Telephone Box Library

The Red Telephone Box Library

I am sure many of you who actually know me have heard me talk about this at one point or another but for everyone else who is still living in the black, prepare to be enlightened..

The Story of the Red Telephone Booth
....well a shortened and very content specific story about the libraries within the booths, not really the booth itself.

I can tell that you're already incredibly captivated as a result of this fabulous title aren't you? Okay okay, I'll stop stalling and get to the point...

When most people think of Britain, a couple of things come to mind:
The Union Jack Flag
The "Keep Calm and Carry On" war slogan
London (Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge)
The Queen
And of course...
The famous red telephone boxes.

Despite their importance in British Culture, they have become quite redundant nowadays since everyone uses cellphones. For this reason the phone company BT (British Telecom) started removing them from various county's as a result of their disuse. It was also starting to get really expensive for the company to maintain them especially when they weren't being used as much anymore.

However many local communities wanted to keep the booths because of fact that they are a British staple and have thus attracted a lot of tourists to their small towns. After a lot of thought the company offered up a compromise: the townships could retain the booths in exchange for a measly £1 as long as the company removed the telephone. Thus the Adopt A Kiosk idea was born!

With an empty booth grew a plethora of opportunities! Some were made into greenhouses, flower
shops, and art galleries, while others became libraries and book exchanges. There are the select few that have gone the unfortunate route into becoming public urinals...but I chose to forget about those, as I'm sure most do.

I thought that a small book exchange was a brilliant idea and as soon as I discovered this hidden treasure, it went right on my bucket fact, I became a little bit obsessed.

The clock ticked on as the days went by and many months past, and I had still not gotten the opportunity to witness this brilliant phenomenon. My time in Europe was coming to a end as my final days approached and I thought that I was going to miss my chance...but then it happened.

After a spontaneous road trip through the English countryside had me delaying my return to normalcy I happened upon a magical little town with, you guessed it, a red telephone booth library.

I have never been so happy to step foot in a library in my life. Does this make me a nerd? Eh, who cares!

This library (along with many other telephone booth libraries) works on a trust system. It's a book exchange so you need to bring a book in order to take a book (hence the term, book exchange duh?!). Being a nomadic traveller means I don't really have space to carry around books since they usually weigh more than necessary, so I was on the hunt to find a book to exchange.

When I came across a copy of the Odyssey in stage version at a church book drop in the Cotswolds (give a donation and take a book) it was almost as if we were destined to find each other. Seeing as the Odyssey is my favourite book and my major is dramatic arts, the combination of the two made a perfect contribution to the telephone booth library. After writing a personal inscription (finding a book with an inscription makes the experience that much more exciting) and shamelessly promoting my blog on the back pages (hey, I had to!) I hid it quite cleverly in the depths of the other books and took a hilarious book about the piss offs of humanity (typical British humour) in exchange. I hope who ever finds the book will have an exciting Odyssey of their own!

If you ever find yourself in the United Kingdom, take a look at this Blog to see if there is a red telephone booth library close to you! It will change your life!

Okay that's being a little melodramatic. It won't change your life, it's just pretty freaking cool.

If it does change your life, you might need to reassess your priorities. But don't feel too bad as I am in the same boat as you ;)

Police Box Ice Cream Shop?! Count me In!

And if books don't excite you enough, get a load of this beauty that my friend from Glasgow, introduced me to: The police box ice cream shop. Anyone who has watched Doctor Who will be familiar with the infamous police box known to Whovians as the TARDIS. Well, like the telephone boxes, police boxes also have become redundant and are being removed. Glasgow has four police boxes that remain, one that sells Scottish memorabilia, one that sells coffee and donuts, one that is merely a landmark and the last being an ice cream shop. Edinburgh also
has a spin-off of this in the form of a bright pink frozen yogurt stand. Pretty ingenious if you ask me!

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