Calls for book donors at Eastwood’s phonebox library

The phone box on Nottingham Road, Eastwood, which has become a library.
The phone box on Nottingham Road, Eastwood, which has become a library.

Bookworms will love Eastwood’s newest library - it’s only a square metre across but you can talk all you want, because really it’s phonebox.

Amid worries that libraries are closing up and down the country, an anonymous librarians appear to have taken the initiative to lend books for free.

The book-nook on opposite Mick Brown Cycles on Nottingham Road, Eastwood, appeared some days ago, operating on a trust system - take what you want, as long as you bring it back.

Eastwood Library denied knowledge of who set up the make-shift library, which only has a small catalogue so far, but there is a call for donations to create more of a feature.

Many phonebox book exchanges have appeared around the country, some lined with shelves of books available to readers.

Libraries manager at Nottinghamshire County Council Peter Gaw said a quirky installation like this could inspire young people to see the magic in reading.

He added: “This new approach complements the council’s long term modernisation strategy which includes recent investment at Stapleford Library. We have a very successful mobile library service which visits rural areas of the county, and we welcome any other initiative which can help promote reading.

A spokesperson added: “While we have not yet been directly approached about donating library books to these “phonebox libraries” the county council would be happy to discuss if the issue arises with whoever has organised them.”

NCC has not closed a single library in its last term - 44 were under threat last year but the council saved them by cutting elsewhere.

Ken Calder of Newthorpe thought the phonebox library was a great idea when he came across it.

He added: “When I first saw it I felt bad for the local libraries - they are in a bad way, closures everywhere, maybe they were leaving books on the street. But it’s a brilliant idea, it made me laugh.”

Nearby bike shop owner Mick Brown said it made sense to put phoneboxes to good use.

The councillor for Giltbrook and Newthorpe added: “We can all afford mobiles these days so the boxes go unused.”

BT advocates the use of the old red K6 telephone kiosks with it’s “adopt a kiosk scheme”, including the use of phoneboxes as art galleries, book exchanges and difibulator points.

A statement on their website said: “We support the Community Heartbeat Trust and the Defib Centre which has placed defibrillators in adopted kiosks. This is bringing life-saving services closer to people, when every second counts.”