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Red telephone boxes - book swap - issues?

(14 Posts)
Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Feb-21 11:37:59

The telephone box in my mum's village has been made into a book swap, which my mum has assumed responsibility for.
Unfortunately rather than being a swap its more of a dumping ground.
Anyone else found this and any tips on how to stop it? She put an irate post on the village Facebook today and had a sign in the box.

OP’s posts: |
LegendDairy Wed 17-Feb-21 11:41:08

It looks like donated books rather than a dumping ground. Its a little bit messy but all the best bookshops are.

SirSamuelVimes Wed 17-Feb-21 11:44:51

Just looks like a too much stock problem in fairness. People have donated books, but with nowhere to put them on the shelves they've left them in the floor. Not ideal in this weather but hardly in the same league as dumping McDonald's wrappers in there.

She needs to have a stock rotation system going. So once or twice a week (as needed), pop down, if there's new books get them on the shelves (if good) and take away some of the ones that have been in there a while. Keep in a box at home.

With charity shops being shut at the moment people will see this as a good alternative. I don't think anyone has "dumped" things, they've donated. When charity shops reopen I think she will see the number of new books coming in go down.

Worth bearing in mind that without people giving new books the whole thing will run out of steam, so she needs not to piss people off for giving her stock.

BrokenCircle Wed 17-Feb-21 11:46:53

Have you got a Little Free Library near you where you could donate some of the excess books?

Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Feb-21 11:50:03

The problem is that she clears it out regularly. She did so on Monday when I went for a walk with her and the picture was today.

It's not a book donation area, it's a book SWAP - as in bring one, take one.

TBH a lot of the books just get dumped. If she took books away to store and rotate she'd have a garage full by now!

I've suggested she abandon it, but I think it was her idea and she feels responsible.

OP’s posts: |
Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Feb-21 11:52:36

No idea on Little Free Library, never heard of that.

I agree they are books that have been left not rubbish, I didn't mean to imply that.

It's not a covid problem, it's been like this for years.

It really is mean to be a SWAP not a leave all your old books.

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Wed 17-Feb-21 11:52:57

We have these in Germany.

What usually happens is that a small group of people assume responsibility for the box, so that it's not all on one person.

The people responsible visit the box every few days and tidy it up, remove anything unsuitable (damaged books, rubbish, ripped comics etc) arrange books into genres, and remove anything that's been sat there for months and ignored (I'm not sure how they do this exactly, maybe just by gut feeling) - that means people are actually likely to look through and take things, because it's not impossible to sort through. Children's books are also placed on the bottom shelves, so that they are at children's eye level.

The one in our village is fairly new but I would assume if it became a problem, a notice would go up. Although an irate post is probably how she feels, she will probably get more luck by posting a polite/friendly reminder that it's a volunteer led service, and asking that people check the capacity of the box before they turn up with a donation, and also asking people to limit their donation to a few books at a time, rather than entire boxes, so that they will all fit in and it doesn't become messy. If she knows of any, she could also suggest other places to donate a larger amount of books. To be frank, some people are a bit thick and won't have thought through that of course a phone box can't accommodate an entire box worth of books from one person. Pointing this out nicely but firmly is more likely to get results than being annoyed about it.

I would also ask in the post if any volunteers are willing to help so that she is not dealing with it all on her own.

BertieBotts Wed 17-Feb-21 11:54:19

She also needs somewhere to offload books that aren't shifting from the box - most likely a recycling solution rather than hoping to actually pass them on as books.

LunaHeather Wed 17-Feb-21 11:54:35


No idea on Little Free Library, never heard of that.

I agree they are books that have been left not rubbish, I didn't mean to imply that.

It's not a covid problem, it's been like this for years.

It really is mean to be a SWAP not a leave all your old books.

You can't police that

People are bound to use it as "donate" when they can't donate to charity shops.

Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Feb-21 11:59:31

The offloaded books go into the recycling bin.
She does check it regularly, as it is just down the road from her.
I don't think her Facebook post would have been overly irate (she was just ranting a bit to me), more pointing out that it is a swap and please don't leave books on the floor, bring one and take one and if no space take them home.

I personally think its a lost cause, as I said this has been going on for years, I'm going to suggest she raises it at the PC meeting (she is in the PC), with a view to abandoning it.

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iloveredwine Wed 17-Feb-21 12:47:00

Our village has a book shed that is now locked and we have to email the volunteers to make an appointment for it to be unlocked to stop this kind of thing. There was a plastic tub kept in the shed so the donated books could be quarantined for a week and to stop them being damaged. Is there any way a lock can be attached?

murbblurb Wed 17-Feb-21 13:07:45

I'm afraid that volunteering does often mean a kicking, and your mum is getting one. The more affluent the area, the worse it is as people can get really lazy.

lock it - although then you risk books being dumped outside in the weather as happens outside charity shops.

Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Feb-21 13:09:52

iloveredwine, interesting - do people actually email to use it?

OP’s posts: |
iloveredwine Wed 17-Feb-21 13:16:07

Yes they do. Its been really popular especially during lockdown and there is a rota for which days the volunteers cover.

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