Thanks to a group of West Australian dads, Currambine Primary School is now host to a unique library.

Painted red, and watertight, the renovated Telstra phone booth is an outdoor add-on to the school’s existing book-borrowing service.

The dads from LADDs birthed the idea.

Loving and Devoted Dads are an offshoot of father engagement, The Father Project.

LADDs exists to ‘improve child development by inspiring dads to engage with their kids.’

Father of two Rob Wilson announced the upcycled telephone booth’s completion on their official Facebook page, stating, ‘[We] are very happy with the response.’

The Telstra Tardis contains over 500 books for kids, as well as some ‘top shelf’ mum and dad content for upskilling their parental repertoire.

Community Effort

After this rundown, Wilson credited the finished product to teamwork.

Noting donors and sponsors, he added that communications company Telstra provided spare parts, and a Wangara screen door company supplied the security door for free.

A local men’s shed also pitched in to help out.

With the library somewhat resembling an old British phone box, Wilson told PerthNow,

“We’ve been trying to actively get our dads or father figures at the school to be more engaging with kids in regards to reading.”

This is when he “remembered seeing telephone boxes used as community libraries in the UK.”

Wilson figured, why not do the same in Australia?

The schoolyard library’s purpose is twofold.

First, to encourage kids to read more. Second, to get parents into the habit of reading to their kids, the LADDs spokesman asserted.

What better way to remind people of this, than by repurposing eye-catching materials which will inspire interaction??

Making an old telephone booth serve as a library is an attractive idea.

Quality Hobby

Regardless of age, reading is an investment.

For time-poor dads, picking up a book is a simple and effective way of spending quality time with their kids.

Books as short as a five-minute read can also create unforgettable memories, which tend not to expire.

Tattered and worn, those books become part treasured memory, part priceless heirloom.

They are a unique package filled with love, and funny voices — things that can be handed down when kids become parents themselves.

Mine are Follow Me Little Lamb, a kid’s Bible, and two others.

These books turned bedtime for them, into time for us.

My version of the Karen Ann Moore book Follow Me Little Lamb is an out-of-print board book, held together by tape, stained by time, and stored for memory’s sake.

Those precious moments are locked into its pages, as mysteriously as those good memories are locked into my kids’ hearts.

Today, being a lot older, we’ve levelled up to reading Charles Spurgeon devotionals on an app, in the car, or on a break.

This is alongside reading through a physical copy of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress once a year around the dinner table.

Small things can, and do, make a big difference.

Hence the genius of the LADD library.

Their upcycled phonebox, encouraging dads to read more with their kids, is small, significant, and supercharged.

Publisher Scholastic notes,

‘Reading [to your kids] gives you the opportunity for close bonding, and it also provides a window into a world of literacy.’

Educational benefits include a larger vocabulary, improved comprehension, and communication skills.

Rochester University adds,

‘Reading is necessary for learning. Instilling a love of reading at an early age unlocks the door to lifelong learning.’

In a list of five ways reading to kids impacts their cognitive development, Focus on the Family also spoke of character development.

Engaging kids with age-appropriate content and scenarios builds strength of character.

Such as reading the Bible, whose many books, figures, and accounts emphasise mercy, justice, healthy relationships, truth, faith, hope, and love.

Through stories, children ‘develop emotional and social skills by observing’ a protagonist’s responses to those dilemmas, they added.

Kids and parents both benefit from reading together. They develop the necessary levels of emotional, spiritual, and psychological maturity needed to navigate the often-hostile world around them.

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Photo by LADDS Fathering CPS.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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