the mini public library project


phone booths are a rare sight these days, and architect John Locke set out to give them a new use and turned them into mini public libraries! with everyone on their smartphones, poor phone booths have become obsolete.  John Locke is especially interested in phone booths because they’re relics – “they’re dead technology perched on the edge of obsolescence.”

the first one was installed in new york city around 96th street.  the books were all donated by local residents and placed inside the orange plywood frame, which is removable.  within six hours of the first one being set up, all the books were gone.  within ten days, the orange shelf was gone as well… hey, you’re supposed to return library books!

the project is a part of John Locke’s program called Department of Urban Betterment– and is meant to improve urban spaces.  the project is supposed to encourage sharing – you take a book, and you bring a book back.  simple as that.  he wants people to engage with their street surroundings, instead of walking with your head down, refusing to look anywhere else.

i love this idea, and i hope it can spread to more cities.  urban life can always use improvements, especially in the aspect of getting people to engage in their community and their surroundings.  as technology evolves and changes, we should change with it.  just because phone booths are obsolete doesn’t mean they have to be eye sores for their communities.  this concept takes the old and turns it into the new – something we should try to do more often!

all images via John Locke


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