New York pay phones become guerilla libraries

“There are 13,659 pay phones on New York City sidewalks even though there are more than 17 million cell phones. Is the pay phone an anachronism or an opportunity?” John Locke, a Columbia architecture grad, saw it as an opportunity. And now, New Yorkers can add guerrilla libraries to the list of things available to them in a city that already has everything!

The Atlantic Cities ran an interview with Locke yesterday in which he described his effort to get people to read more. And what better way to accomplish that goal than installing a series pop-up libraries in the city’s mostly unused pay phones? The hope is that people will take unfamiliar titles from the pay-phone libraries, and then replace the book with one they’ve already read. It hasn’t been entirely successful yet — and there have only been two installations so far — but Locke said he thinks it’s a viable concept: “The response by people who see them and stop and wonder, ‘What the hell is this thing doing here?’ has been totally positive, and that’s enough motivation to keep trying,” he told The Atlantic Cities.

Read the full interview with Locke here and see more pictures of Locke’s invention. What do you think of his concept? Would you participate in book sharing like this? And is anyone else wondering like I am what happens if it rains? Sound off in the comments.

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