Old Birstwith telephone box transformed into children’s library
Last updated Jul 25, 2023
Two year old Martha Fletcher visiting the Birstwith phonebox library

An old phone box in the village of Birstwith has been given a new lease of life as a children’s book library.

The disused phone box has stood empty for years but has now been transformed by one of the residents to get younger members of the community reading.

Ann Lilley told the Stray Ferret:

“I had an abundance of children’s books from working as a teaching assistant and I know how important it is to get children reading from an early age.”

The idea was approved by the parish council as part of BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme, which helps people renovate phone boxes to bring value to their community – many have become libraries, food banks or homes for defibrillators.

Phone box libraries are becoming more common,with more than 1,500 being adopted nationally since 2009. There is one on St Hilda’s Road in Harrogate and a book exchange phone box in Marton Cum Grafton.

With the nearest public library approximately 20 minutes away from Birstwith, the new community library makes it easier for people to access books to suit all tastes.

Three year old Elsie Alderson choosing her bedtime story

Kathryn Alderson, whose daughter Elsie is using the library, said:

“I think it’s a great addition to the village and has come at the right time with it being the summer holidays. It’s great for little ones to get them interested in reading or choosing new things to read.”

Ann Lilley told the Stray Ferret that many villagers have contacted her to say what a valuable project this is and how “children have really enjoyed going along”.

The new phone box library is free for everyone to use. People are welcome to donate their own books, as long as there is space on the shelves.

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