Sunday, February 26, 2012


Years ago, when I was a child, I carried a quarter at all times in case I needed to call home. (My parents were frugal people who I feared would not accept my collect calls.) I remember being shocked when phone calls began to cost 35 cents;  it was so much more challenging to carry two coins. I have always loved phone booths.

When Mr. TRWH and I moved to NYC with the Maggie dog in the 90s, phone booths were plentiful and well-used. Cell phones were still a luxury. We didn't have one for years and years of our city living, and then we shared one between us. So we used pay phones. I remember fondly the glorious recording of the woman with the thick Bronx accent, thanking me for using a NYNEX pay phone.

I worry about phone booths going away, but one NYer found a way to give them renewed value: he is crafting them into Guerilla Libraries, as detailed in this article on the Columbia University Architecture graduate student John Locke, sponsored by the Department of Urban Betterment, (a group of his own creation), has been making these:

Guerilla Library, NYC
(I hope we get one in A2 soon!)

I find these guerilla libraries to be inspirational, whimsical, and generous. Walking past one would be a daily reminder of how books connect us to both ourselves and others. I love Locke's suggestion that in this way they "give value back to a neighborhood." They most certainly do.

Now, can anyone tell me where I can get a Department of Urban Betterment T-shirt?

1 comment:

  1. Also- This project reminds me of the picture book "The Lonely Phone Booth," by Peter Ackerman and Max Dalton, inspired by a phone booth at 100th and West End (near Maggie's park). And it's a great reminder to stop in and take-a-book-leave-a-book from the lending library at the beloved Jefferson Market in Ann Arbor.