Reaction of “pooterish residents” of Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire to community library becoming a “book sexchange” is laughable and condemned as “righteous indignation”
‘Book Sexchange’ scandal hits Hants – You’d have thought any populous would be grateful, especially in times of lockup boredom, for a book exchange, but the raucous residents of Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire (population 851) most certainly are not after erotic fiction was discovered in their phone box library.
Echoing the uproar that followed our having made bookseller Olivia Clements a ‘Heroine of the Hour’ in February after she installed a free community library box in her garden in Exeter, a spokesman for the local council complained: “We love our phone box library but we don’t love salacious adult literature being left in there… Please find another outlet for your collection.”
Speaking to The Sun, a local councillor, Kirsty North, furiously exclaimed: “This certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when the village bought the kiosk,” whilst an angry parish council clerk named Miriam Edwards added:
“A lot of people don’t find this funny. We don’t want this made into some sort of laughing stock and a sideshow when the underlying issue is actually very important. We don’t want somebody acting like it’s OK to put porn in a public phone box.”
Analysed further by Daniel Johnson in The Article yesterday also in an article titled: “The great British telephone box library scandal,” the “righteous indignation” and of the “pooterish” South Downs National Park residents about “smutty paperbacks in a phone box” was deservedly condemned. He quite rightly observed:
“Is it possible that the good people of Hurstbourne Tarrant are stuck in a 1950s time warp, perhaps connected with their telephone kiosk library? (Where is Doctor Who when you need her?) Has news of the Lady Chatterley trial and the abolition of censorship yet to reach this corner of the South Downs National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty and seemingly of unnatural prudishness?”
“The point about libraries – even very, very small ones – is that they almost always contain books that are ‘inappropriate’ for somebody. But the moral jeopardy of letting children roam fancy-free among the bookcases is far outweighed by the value of serendipity – the magical moment when a child discovers the joy of reading for him or herself.”
“To treat adult literature as dangerous is to infantilise young readers – and counter-productive, too. Do parents and teachers worry about child protection every time boys and girls set foot in the local public library, lest they stray into the ‘grown-up’ sections? In reality, most are more likely to be glad that the kids are reading books at all, rather than spending their leisure looking at who-knows-what online. Their innocence is at incomparably greater risk from the smartphones they all have.”
In March 2013, we reported that the number of BT telephone boxes in the UK had declined from 92,000 to just 51,500 in 2012. Since then many more have been removed and in their place a book exchange would surely be a good thing for any community – unless, of course, you are a doddering denizen of Hurstbourne Tarrant, of course.