Wednesday, September 28, 2011

World's Smallest Library

A little while ago I blogged about the largest library in the world, or should I say "libraries" because The British Library and the Library of Congress tied for the title. Today I decided to find out what the smallest library in the world is and guess what? The US and Great Britain tie again! In all fairness, had this idea occurred to me a month ago there wouldn't have even been a tie because the American contender didn't exist before the beginning of September and the concept is clearly borrowed from our friends across the Atlantic. But I should stop talking and introduce the winners:

Westbury Book Exchange is a traditional English telephone booth in the village of Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset, England that has been converted into a library and now houses over 100 books and music CDs. The villagers entered the idea into the British Telephone National competition and although they did not win the first prize they sure have received a lot of publicity since 2009 - their kiosk has been featured in many magazines, newspapers and blogs and BT even used a picture of it in their latest "Adopt a Kiosk" campaign brochure. The Book Exchange is free to use and anyone can take a book from the booth if they bring one to leave in its place. You can read more about the Westbury Book Exchange on the Westbury-sup-Mendip website.

About two years after the residents of Westbury came up with their idea for repurposing a telephone booth Claudia Cooley of Clinton Corners, NY opened The Book Booth in her town with the help of Clinton Community Library in an effort to better reach the community. The kiosk is now officially the smallest library in America, it is open 24/7, 365 days a year, is never locked, has its own Facebook page and has also gotten plenty of publicity in the short time that it's been open. Read more about it in this Huffington Post interview.


  1. Great post! I think the smallest non-official library is our staff lending library at work - currently it has a pitiful 3 books!

  2. I loved this! I want to go to these shops, particularly the one in England - it's so adorable.

  3. Thanks Olga for writing about us. Yes,we did get the idea from our friends in England and I have tried to be very clear in saying that we are NOT the smallest library in the world. That is an honor our British friends deserve.
    I've used our Facebook page to highlight other Red Phone Boxes that have been put into new uses. (It's been great fun for us) Thanks again for your mention! Best, Claudia Cooley

  4. Sam, that's just sad. May be you guys need a phone-booth library at your school! I read somewhere they can be purchased very inexpensively.

    Jessie, me too! Road-trip! At least to the American one, the English one would need an "ocean trip" :)

    Claudia, you are most welcome! I absolutely love the idea and wish these booths would start popping up all over the place, although seems like smaller communities would benefit the most.