Mini public community library attached to NYC phone booth

Mini community Library in phone booth

date 2011

This urban intervention project was designed and set up by an American architect, John Locke. John has identified that there is a low usage problem of the phone booth in New York. His intervention attempted to give the phone booth a new purpose, in order to increase the usage of it. 2 trial samples of libraries have been set up before implement widely in the city, and they were named as 001 and 002.

By attaching the specially designed wooden shelves to the phone booth, a simple mini community library was then set up on the sidewalk of New York City. The purpose of this library is to create a platform for pedestrians and local residents to borrow and share books.
There are no instruction and any other description on the library, as the designer hope the public can make use of it according to their wish. The designers has also been very conscious on deciding the location of site; 96th Street was selected for the location of 001 and 002 sample, as this location has a large amount of mixed type pedestrian flow from the residential area, train station and commercial centre nearby.
By implementing this urban intervention throughout the city, it is expected to improve the low usage issue of phone booth and other street furniture in New York, as well as to create a new cultural trend on community library.

In order to assess the performance of this urban intervention, John has carried out some observation and research on the reaction of pedestrians. He mentioned that many people reach out and flip through books, but they hesitate to take any of them away. This identified one of the potential limitations of this intervention; people hesitate to use the library due to the unfamiliar to this kind of urban intervention. Therefore, he concluded that improvements can be made by adding simple instructions on the library shelves, in order to avoid the hesitation and uncertain feeling received by the potential users.

Image credit: (c) John Locke