Hidden away in the small Lancashire village of Whittle-le-Woods, sits a spruced up red telephone box lined with shelves full of books.
I first came across this tiny library a few weeks ago while visiting my boyfriend’s family home. An updated sign, which reads ‘BOOK SWAP’ can be seen on the top of the box, and the idea of it filled me with excitement straight away.
Unlike regular libraries, the telephone box is open 24 hours a day, only one person can use it a time – or two if you’re both very small! – and the concept is based on trust; you simply take a book and replace it with another.
Having never seen anything like this before, I took to Google to find that Whittle-le-Woods isn’t the only place with this kind of converted telephone box. In fact, there’s a couple more close-by and many more in other locations.
Communications company BT previously introduced an ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme, which enables a community to retain its iconic red telephone box for just £1. Any recognised local authority, parish, community, town council, registered charity or community interest company throughout the UK or Scotland can apply to adopt their local phone box.
I’ve since been back to the Whittle-le-Woods book swap a handful of times and swapped some of my well-read paperbacks for others.
fantastic idea hidden away in whittle-le-woods, chorley. looking forward to reading my two new books ☺️ pic.twitter.com/HVhvbIOZiS
— Hollie Rees (@holliejrees) April 3, 2018
Here’s six reasons why I think it’s a brilliant idea:
You can read something different
Maybe you’re a fan of thrillers or sci-fi books, or romance novels might be more your thing. When browsing the shelves of the book swap, you’ll definitely be tempted to try something completely new – and you’ll probably love it too!
It gives you an aim
How many times have you started to read a book, but left it unfinished as life (or endless scrolling on social media) just got in the way? Admittedly, this has become quite common for me over recent years.
Since discovering the book swap, I’ve constantly had my head in a book and now actually make time to read for pleasure again. It’s exciting knowing that there will be a whole new range of books to choose from once one story comes to an end.
It’s suitable for everyone
With such a range of titles to choose from, you’re bound to find something that you’ll enjoy. There’s often books for children, loads of sports books, and a stack of the typical ‘old woman’ genre. Both you and your Grandma can take a trip.
Not a lot is these days. Sure, you can still visit a local library but you’ve got to return those books, sadly.
It would otherwise sit empty
Due to the growth of the mobile phone industry, telephone box usage has inevitably dropped. Many of the kiosks around the UK have since been removed, but the ones that are still standing may as well be put to good use.
Makes a unique talking point
I posted photographs of the Whittle-le-Woods book swap online, and told many friends and family members about it in person. I’ve even dedicated this whole article to it! Anything unique and different helps to get a location on the map.