An old phone booth in Faro has been turned into a library where books can be exchanged by anyone at any time.
The idea is that you bring a book to exchange for the book that you want to take with you. The scheme has already been successful in other parts of Portugal and European capitals, such as London.
The booth, located at Jardim Manuel Bívar garden, has a wide selection of books, from classics of Portuguese literature to cookbooks and books by foreign authors.
The project is led by Faro council and telecommunications company Altice.
Alexandre Fonseca, the company’s CEO, says that younger generations must not lose the habit of reading.
“We are a technological company that brings gigabytes of information to people’s devices, but we cannot lose the habit of touching, feeling and smelling a book,” he told reporters at the inauguration of the library booth on Thursday, June 27.
Faro Mayor Rogério Bacalhau hopes the book-exchange booth can become a tourist attraction.
“We have many foreign books for our international visitors,” he said. “Phone booths have become a cultural feature in a town and are thus a good vehicle to promote reading.”
The booth will be managed by the municipal library, which provided all the books and will add new ones each day.
As the booth is open 24 hours a day, the issues of vandalism and users abusing the scheme by taking more books than they are supposed to were raised. However, according to the Altice CEO, these cases are indeed rare when considering experience with the nearly 30 library booths already opened in Portugal.
In fact, he says, the scheme has been a success and there are plans to open other book booths in the Algarve. “We have requests from other municipalities in the region,” concluded Alexandre Fonseca.