How would you fancy one of these at the end of your street?
Residents of Eastcote, north-west London, have a new bookswap to explore, and it's housed within a classic K2 phone box. Anyone can take a book for free at any time, or drop off their own tomes for others to read.
The community book exchange on North View is part of The Little Local Book Hub, an organisation founded at the start of lockdown that now oversees 13 such hubs, mostly in and around London. The phone box hub in Eastcote is now considered its flagship.
Such initiatives are always driven by local residents. In this case, the key mover was Miriam Chinnick. She raised £1,500 to buy and fit-out a phone box which had originally been in the lobby of a London hotel. She gave us the back story.
"Our hub started as a few boxes on my wall in lockdown but grew and grew as the community kept coming back for more and donating more. A couple of months ago someone came along and stole a box of books and it was this that triggered the community to raise the funds to set up a permanent hub, and I decided to get the phone box! We have visitors every day from the toddlers to the grandparents and I am very proud of myself and my community for creating this."
If you're a bit jealous of the Eastcote book hub (or the similar Micro Library in Lewisham), then why not start your own? You can find details over on The Little Book Hub website. And you may already have a book swap close to home. We maintain a map of all the bookswaps — large or small — that we know about in London. If you have any to add, please email email@example.com with details.
Meanwhile, we're also interested in alternative uses for old phone boxes, if anybody has examples to add to this list.