The phonebook use to be a staple of American society, the only way possible to find one’s phone number if you did not know. However, the majority of folks now use a little innovation we like to call the internet as a more efficient substitute to the former. So does everyone need to continue to receive their yearly edition of this fine piece of literature?
An article in the L.A. Times showed that Seattle tried to have an ordinance passed that would require publishers of the phone book to obtain permits and pay fees before being allowed to distribute these directories to households. It was struck down by a three judge panel of the 9th circuit for a reason that most would not expect; the first amendment. “The 1st Amendment does not make protection contingent on the perceived value of certain speech” the courts stated. To their defense, they do recognize the fading value of the directory. “The Yellow Pages telephone directory was once a ubiquitous part of American life, found in virtually every household and office, but times have changed, and today phone books, like land-line telephones themselves, are not so universally accepted” wrote Judge Richard R. Clifton.
So we shall continue to receive thousands of pages of phone numbers a year, but instead of thinking of that phonebook for what it is, look to find alternative uses. Phonebooks can be great booster seats, fire starter, mouse pads, and any other fun, innovative use that can be thought of. Keep those phone books a coming.