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London's Smallest Library

Home > London > Free | Questions | Quirky
by Mike Whyte (subscribe)
Published September 12th 2021
When is a phone box not a phone box? When it's a library

When is a telephone box not a telephone box? When it's a library... This isn't some kind of surreal joke, highlighting my weird and rather poor sense of humour, but an actual fact...

The truth is, once the mobile phone revolution really started to kick in, the need for London's iconic telephone boxes became less and less. This led to alternative uses being found for these symbolic red phone boxes (of course, nobody wanted to get rid of them, as they are still amazingly popular with people wanting to take pictures inside of them. Some of them have remained as phone boxes but you may be surprised by some of the other uses. On my travels, I have seen them turned into aquariums, gardens, art installations, galleries, and of course, the library that I am currently describing.

Should you be in the Lewisham area, namely between Loampit Hill and Tyrwhitt Road, you might just come across it too.

Believed to be London's smallest library - this rather innovative use for a telephone box is still going strong, more than 7 years after it first appeared. It became quite famous on its inception, even featuring on the BBC News - not bad for a telephone box!

The rules to this quirky library are simple; you are free to take any book you like but should either replace it with another book or return the book once finished. As you can see, the box/ library has filled up with books, and there are obvious signs of community love, as the books, on my visit at least, were well stacked neat on the shelves. My favourite part was naturally no loud 'shhhh' to be quiet, and no library late fees!
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Why? It's London's smallest library
When: anytime
Where: Loampit Hill/ Tyrwhitt Road, Lewisham, London, SE13 7SZ
Cost: free (though replace/ return items is recommended)
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