Now you don’t need to take a trip to the library as we have a charming alternative – Norway’s iconic red phone booths have been converted into mini libraries called “lesekiosker” or reading booths. All across the country, around 100 of these nostalgic booths have found a new purpose as reading booths.
These tiny reading sanctuaries are open 24/7 to anyone passionate about books. All the books are cost-free, and usually in good condition. The majority of the books are in Norwegian, however, if you are lucky then you can find books in English or other languages. The books are usually not organized, so you have to browse through the shelves to see if there is anything of your liking.
Whenever I pass by one of the booths, I often take a look inside. During my multiple visits, I have found novels, children’s books and art books. Of course, there’s an unspoken agreement – if you take a book, it’s expected that you’ll reciprocate the favour by also leaving a book behind. Alternatively, return the book you’ve selected after reading it.
The telephone booths have been refurbished and furnished with bookshelves and acrylic plates to protect the books in any type of weather. In Oslo alone there are 22 “lesekiosker” conveniently scattered throughout the city. Check this link for all the locations in Oslo.
The one shown in the photo is located on Sommerrogata 17.