GOOD

How To: Turn a Payphone Into a Library

Book booths are an easy way to acquire new books (for free), bring your community together and transform a neighborhood eyesore into a neighborhood gem.

Have an old phone booth in your neighborhood sitting empty? Fill it with books! Book booths are an easy way to acquire new books (for free), bring your community together and transform a neighborhood eyesore into a neighborhood gem. We talked to Amy Inouye of the Future Studio about how she started one in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.


1) Scout. No old phone booth close by? Don’t worry. A book booth can work just about anywhere. Take over an unused newspaper dispenser or ask a local business for some of their sidewalk space or an old bench. Be sure to find a place where people already linger, meet, or hang out. And keep it tidy. “You wouldn’t really want anyone to leave a box of books on the ground,” says Inouye. ”Then it starts looking messy. It’s like the broken window mindset. You want it to look neat and presentable and inviting so that it maintains a level of usefulness and involvement.”

2) Chat. Circulation is the key to a successful book booth. Talk to your neighbors and encourage them to drop off books in advance of the launch, say Inouye. If you choose a location in front of or near a business, be sure to talk to the business owner first and get their support. “I got permission and spoke to the owners several times before we launched the booth,” says Inouye.

3) Stock. Because most people will contribute books they no longer want, it’s easy for the book booth to become a book dump. Act as a curator for the booth to keep too many old romance novels from stacking up. Inouye checks the Highland Park booth almost every day to keep it neat and “family friendly.” She also manages the content. After receiving a stack of 20 year-old textbooks she slowly put them out one at a time. “Eventually all of them got taken,” she says.

4) Let it go! It’s important to maintain the booth, yes, but stay open to different interpretations of its use. Add a chair for a quick read, a request sheet for specific books or a small night light to highlight the space. You may even set up a book crossing. After all, if you love your books, set them free.

This post originally appeared on www.refresheverything.com, as part of GOOD's collaboration with the Pepsi Refresh Project, a catalyst for world-changing ideas. Find out more about the Refresh campaign, or submit your own idea today.

Articles

A two-minute television ad from New Zealand is a gut punch to dog lovers who smoke cigarettes. "Quit for Your Pets" focuses on how second-hand smoke doesn't just affect other humans, but our pets as well.

According to Quitline New Zealand, "when you smoke around your pets, they're twice as likely to get cancer."

Keep Reading
Health
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading
Politics
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
Communities