Little Eaton in Derbyshire, UK, becomes the latest UK village to have its surplus-to-requirements traditional red telephone box converted into a book exchange for the use of the villagers.
Little Eaton Parish Council reports in its December 2011 newsletter of the opening of a disused traditional red telephone box as a book exchange and that it was pleased to see it is being well used. Stocked by donations and only closed overnight, villagers can take one of their own books down to the exchange and swap it for one they have not already read.
The Derby Telegraph says that the idea was the brain-child of Clare Howard from the village outside whose house the telephone box is stationed. The project has been so successful that the council is considering purchasing a second telephone box further down Alfreton Road, for the princely sum of £1, from British Telecom (BT) to set up as a second book exchange.
Little Eaton is not the first village to set up a defunct telephone box as a book exchange. The Somerset village of Westbury sub Mendip appears to have been the first village in the UK to come up with the idea when it entered into a competition being run by BT in 2009 for the most innovative use of an adopted red telephone box.
Although the villagers did not collect the £5,000 prize (that honour went to the residents of the Cambridgeshire town of Great Shelford who suggested using it to hold a mannequin dressed as a historical figure) the idea was carried through and in August 2011, Westbury held a celebratory picnic to honour the two years of service by what is believed to be the country’s first ever phone box book exchange.