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Borrowing a book from a phone box?


In Japan, people can use vending machines on street corners to buy an umbrella, flowers, a tie or fresh eggs for breakfast, for example. In Finland, the vending machine culture is quite small, but new things keep popping up from time to time. For example, automatic DVD kiosks offer new movie titles for rent with a bank or credit card. Such kiosks are located at Kamppi Center, for example.

Automatic machines for lending and returning titles at the library are common, but how would a book lending kiosk sound like? In Ottawa, Canada, the local Riverside residents had to look again when an automatic miniature library opened at the local community centre. Residents can use the book vending machine to borrow popular novels for adults, teenagers and children. You simply show your library card to the vending machine, just like the library machines in Finland, select the book you want and then retrieve it from the shelf, together with a return receipt. The books are returned to a separate machine. You can also go online and order your favourite books from other, nearby libraries and pick them up from the book kiosk.

In England, people can appreciate small and compact recycling ideas. People in Somerset transformed an ancient, majestically red phone box full of history and tradition into one of the smallest libraries in the country. The phone box carries 100 book titles and operates around the clock, also lending out DVDs and CDs. The operating principle is simple: you can exchange a book you have read or a film that you have seen for another, new selection. The phone box library has already become a part of the beloved cityscape.

Of course, since the mobile phone revolution, Brits have also come up with novel ways to use the traditional red phone boxes. Some of the boxes are galleries, showers or even public lavatories!

What kinds of vending machines could the Central Library offer? Manga comics? Recycling bags for books? Roses for the lovely librarians?

Sources: Ottawa Public Library, BBC News

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