The ubiquity of phone booths is interesting because they are completely obsolete, unevenly distributed in outlying neighborhoods and they carry a strong sense of nostalgia with me. They've already evolved from their original function as person-to-person communication technology into their second iteration as pedestrian-scaled billboards. I wanted to see if there is a third option in that, yes, they get our eyes for advertising dollars, but they can also give value back to a neighborhood. I was most interested in turning what is perceived as an urban liability into an opportunity.-- John Locke, Department of Urban Betterment
And what more can you say about books? They're the greatest things ever, and everyone should have more.
Of course, there have been a few glitches:
So far only two booths have been converted. There will absolutely be more. Each iteration has to be judged to see what works, both in terms of siting and how to engage the public. For instance, the first test was in a more remote block. The books were neither marked, nor were any instructions given. After a few days the books were gone. I added more, and those too were removed within a few days. After another two weeks, the shelves disappeared.
I find this story appealing, but why phonebooths? In case the person you call puts you on endless hold? Or is a boring conversationalist? I thought laundromats were the swap libraries of choice these days.