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Villagers box clever with books for kiosk

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: August 31, 2011

  • Librarian Carolyn Dolan at the phone box which has become a mini lending library.

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THE empty village telephone kiosk in Box has been given a new lease of life as a library.

Pop into the traditional bright red phone box in the pretty village near Minchinhampton and there's more reading material than simply a telephone book.

The public pay phone may no longer be fitted inside the distinctive red kiosk on the village green but people can pick up a novel or autobiography instead.

The mini-library is the idea of Box resident Carolyn Dolan.

"I got some shelves and opened the mini-library," she said.

"Anyone can help themselves and bring in books whcih they don't want. It's a very simple idea."

She added: "If it's a success we might expand to children's books.

"It's only been there a few weeks but it is certainly being used."

Box Village Association bought the telephone box from telecommunications giants BT for £1.

"It was such an integral part of the village we thought we would like to keep it," said Carolyn.

"The mobile library doesn't come here any more and there are quite a few elderly people in the village, so hopefully it will be well used."

After the phone was removed by BT in 2008 after only 30 calls were made from it in the previous year. It then housed a village map.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  September 01 2011, 11:20AM

    geraint2010, You seem to have totally missed my point. Pay-as-you-go mobile phones do not offer free calls to 0800 numbers, as landlines and BT call boxes do. In addition, from a BT call box, you can phone 151 for free and report that your home phone isn't working, which is what I had to do a few months ago. I assume that there is also a number that can be called for free or at low cost if you have a Virgin landline that has gone dead.

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  • geraint2010  |  August 31 2011, 5:06PM

    Come on Kay it is the 21st century you know! You can pick up a 'pay as you go' mobile, with £10 worth of free calls thrown in, for around 30 quid the last time I looked. Perhaps they should consider issuing one gratis to every adult on a low income – it would probably work out cheaper than maintaining all the frequently vandalised and urine-soaked phone kiosks

  • Kay_Powell  |  August 31 2011, 3:39PM

    It's a shame that Box lost its actual public telephone. If anyone thinks that BT call boxes aren't needed now that most people have a landline and/or a mobile phone, I have a true story for you: A few months ago, I picked up my home phone receiver to make a call at lunchtime on a Friday and discovered that it was dead. I used a public callbox to contact my service provider, BT, early that afternoon. I was put on hold for absolutely ages and then made to listen to a very long recorded message giving lots of advice about checking my own telephone and warning me that I would be charged £130 if I called an engineer out unnecessarily. They then told me that they would do a line check on my home phone line. After that, I was cut off, so I had to call back and explain what had happened so far. Eventually, I was told that the line check had indicated an external fault and that they would fix it by 5pm the following Wednesday. Then they warned me again that they would charge me £130 if the fault was on my property. All in all, I must have been on the phone for 20 minutes. My mobile service provider would have charged 41 pence per minute for this call, so it would have cost me around £8 just to report a fault, instead of being free from a public call box.(The fault was repaired just over three days later - it had been caused by a BT engineer cutting through my line 150 metres away from my house).

  • Library_User  |  August 31 2011, 3:08PM

    Quite right, Hughes12. It's a great idea for people to use the phone box to swap books. But how misleading of TiG to say the kiosk "has been given a new lease of life as a library" - it's a phone box, TiG! It would be nice if the local press made some attempt to describe the dismantling of local services which is now taking place. Instead of which they seem happy to pretend that services are not needed.

  • hughes12  |  August 31 2011, 2:40PM

    Absolutely nothing wrong with this "swap shop" initiative and for £1.00, who can grumble? But it isn't a library, even a mini one. On the bright side, the mobile library route could well be continuing, depending on whether a high court judge thinks Box and similar villages deserve a service they're already paying for. This isn't propaganda; it's a close to the truth as you can get in the current political maze at both local and national level. So, well done, to Carolyn for keeping Box's demand for a library visit alive.

  • ablokehere  |  August 31 2011, 10:35AM

    Well done Carolyn. Don't take any notice of the propoganda put out by the nay sayers here.

  • Library_User  |  August 31 2011, 10:18AM

    Instead of reporting on issues surrounding the the threat to the public library service and the intended closure of every mobile library in the county, TiG puts out this complete nonsense. A telephone kiosk is not a replacement for a library service.

  • tommadeit  |  August 31 2011, 8:54AM

    Nice idea Carolyn - however, I would have thought that your time and effort would have been better used in persuading your hapless Cllr. to reinstate the mobile service thereby providing you with the service you pay for while also saving jobs.