Nostalgia

The Fading Phone Book: We Ask For Your Warm, Crinkly Memories

a pile of phone books
iStockphoto.com

The White Pages, where many of us have found residential phone numbers over the years, are slowly being phased out in a number of states. NPR reported on this in early October, and now New York is part of the movement, too.

There will still be Yellow Pages, for the time being — it's just the residential listings that phone companies are seeking permission to stop printing, except for customers who specifically request them. Everything from environmental concerns to the ubiquity of online directories to the decline of land lines has added heft to the cause, and in a growing list of states, you already won't get the White Pages automatically.

But the piece in The Wall Street Journal notes that where AT&T has stopped printing the White Pages automatically, 2 percent of customers still request them. It's not a lot, but it's something.

It's not hard to imagine a day when the Yellow Pages, too, will no longer be able to justify their existence, and the entire concept of a hard-copy phone directory will be something almost nobody remembers and almost nobody can imagine using.

Before that happens, we wanted to give you an opportunity to salute the phone book. That's right: salute the phone book. Did you use it to boost you when you were too short for the dinner table? Did you wander through it looking for funny names? (...Not that I would ever do that myself.) Did you possibly, at any time, use it for prank calls?

We want to know: as the world shifts in the direction of Googling, Binging, and otherwise electronically pinging those you're trying to find, what does the phone book mean to you?

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