Work starts on permanent base for much-loved phonebox library

Hole in the ground for phone box library NNL-150520-095206001
Hole in the ground for phone box library NNL-150520-095206001

A new chapter in the story of Banbury’s phone box library is under way as work begins to install a second red kiosk in South Bar.

This week sharp-eyed residents have spotted fencing has sprung up around the planned site of the promised second box and a BT spokeswoman has confirmed work has now started.

Books are free to be taken and returned.

Books are free to be taken and returned.

The news will delight all those who campaigned to save the pop-up library after BT served an eviction notice on the site in February.

The story attracted national interest, telling how a resident had installed shelves and books inside the working phone box.

Passers-by were free to borrow books and return them as well as making their own donations to the collection.

Even the then Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry got in on the act, donating some of his own books.

But after a customer complained, BT ordered the removal of the pint-sized pay phone library on health and safety grounds, triggering a mass social media protest with its own hashtag, #SaveOurPhoneboxLibrary

Banbury Town Council offered to adopt the library but BT ruled a dual use of the site was not possible. It could remain a working pay phone or a library but not both. However, after a meeting between Cllr Kieron Mallon and BT operations general manager Gareth McWilliams, an agreement was struck between the telecoms company and Banbury Town Council to install a second red kiosk to the town alongside the working pay phone.

It will be refitted with shelving and filled with books. Watch this space for further details.