It is the end of an era for the famous red telephone boxes on the streets of the United Kingdom, which once gave people shelter and comfort to keep in touch, as the country has announced to scrap half of the remaining cultural icons.
But in the Chinese city of Shanghai, urban managers have a different solution for the red boxes.
The 263 telephone boxes in Shanghai’s Xuhui District will be turned into mini-library stands. The telephones will remain in case of emergency, while touch screens will be added for audio books and the city’s library system, the district cultural bureau and China Telecom’s Shanghai branch announced on Aug. 19.
Featuring six different themes, the telephone boxes will offer up to 60 books for people to borrow and read inside the booth, e-books and audio books, or one book for in-depth reading. Two other kinds of booths will introduce famous local historical figures or provide places for book donations and book reading activities, the Thepaper.cn reported.
More themes will be introduced later, such as those exhibiting non-tangible cultural heritage and reading facilities for the blind.
“It is important to create an atmosphere to encourage reading. If there is a place to read near a bus station, they might read while waiting for the bus. We hope these booths will encourage good reading habits,” said Li Mingyi, head of the Xuhui District Cultural Bureau.