1/7/22 David Kramer at the Brighton Memorial Library pay phone. [Photo: Courtesy of the BML staff]
Today at the Brighton Memorial Library I wanted a drink of water. The water fountain is in the back alcove where I discovered another kind of anachronism (water fountains seem on their way out): a pay telephone including a phone book from 2019 – 2020.
The phonebook itself is more a resource than you might expect. 2020 was the last year Frontier’s phone books included personal numbers, ones increasingly hard to find on the internet. But on this phone book, I could find listed my father, Eugene Kramer. As Eugene passed in 2019, this would be his last listing .
The BML keeps all recent phone books, but the books from 2020 – present contain only business and no personal numbers.To learn more, I turned to Reference Librarian Matthew Bashore:
Matt: The phone was definitely placed there in 1999. It could have existed in the building (or elsewhere) prior to that and been moved. But I really think because of its style and graphics it is from 1999. I got here in 2000 and it was here. Jude Hyzen who is the only regular employee here longer than me, says she also thinks it dates to 1999 (the last expansion of the library).Talker: How often is the phone used and by whom? The staff says the phone is dialed infrequently but still used. Apparently, the library regulars know about the old fashioned device. The staff said people occasionally come to the library looking for a phone and are pointed in its direction. Hope they have a quarter! I was told the phone was more used when the library had a bus stop. Apparently, people needed to make calls, maybe for a ride home.
Matt: We have no stats on how much it is used. I rarely see anyone on it anymore. In fact, I can’t recall anyone since the pandemic. Prior to that, maybe once a week.
Talker: When are the coins taken away? No one on the staff recalls the coins ever being removed, but I imagine the phone would be filled up if the nickels, dime and quarters were never taken out. We could do a kind of archeological analysis of the coins to give a sense of the age and usage of the phone.Matt: The coins are removed. I have seen the Frontier employee pass by the desk. You would need to contact Frontier to find out how frequently.
Talker: Anything else of interest.
Matt: I believe it costs 50 cents to make call now.
On 1/7, Town of Brighton Historian Mary Jo Lanphear writes:
Until a couple of years ago there was a pay phone across from my doorThe wooden backing is still attached to the wall.
on the lower level of the town hall. In the pre-cell phone era, it
was a popular stopping place for salesmen who also took advantage of
the men’s room down the hall.
I discovered two pay phones at Twelve Corners in Brighton on the Corner of Elmwood and Winton
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS IN THE COMMENT SECTION AT END
ALSO ON THE BRIGHTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY