This reference question has actually been in the works for a couple weeks, and isn't officially closed. But I don't expect to get any better answer than what has already been found, so I thought I'd share it.
Before I got into work one day, a patron asked if she could use the phone. Since our pay phone was removed from the lobby, we've been more permissive about letting patrons use our desk phones. However, when the patron said she was going to call India, staff told her she'd need to use a pay phone. So of course she asked,
Where is the nearest pay phone?
They were pretty sure there was one across the street, but just to be sure they also searched online to see if there were any pay phone listings or directories. They found three, but each seemed incomplete or out-of-date:
- Payphone Project - our town listing included phones in buildings that have been torn down (not to mention they're not even our area code)
- Payphone Directory - their Massachusetts listing didn't include our town
- McPayphone - again, no local listings in their Massachusetts listing, but there was one Chelmsford location on their "dead numbers" page
When I got in, I also searched and found the same thing. I thought the best way to get a listing of pay phones in town was to contact the Verizon rep who handled our old pay phone - if anyone had a current list, it'd be them, right? So I called our Town Hall and spoke to the woman who handles the pay phone contracts for Town buildings. She said all of the Town-run phones had been removed to save money, and that dealing with our Verizon rep was a pain. She didn't have his phone number handy, but said she'd look and call me back (I still haven't heard from her, which is why this question isn't officially "closed").
In the meantime, I thought I'd just call Verizon and see how far I could get. I found a list of Verizon contact phone numbers, and called the Massachusetts support line.
After going through their menu options and waiting on hold for a few minutes, I finally got a nice guy in the billing department. I explained that I was looking for a list of pay phones in my town, and he laughed and said he didn't even know if they even still had a pay phone division. Eventually he found a "coin phone department" on his department list, and transferred me there. But he also gave me the number: 800-782-8355.
After waiting on hold for a long while, I spoke to a woman who didn't seem to like the idea of me asking for this list. First she said I had to go through Town Hall, so I explained that the Town pulled out their phones, which is why I was looking for a list of the rest of the phones in town. Then she put me on hold to confer with someone, and when she came back she said,
I can't give you that list, because a list of where all our phones are is proprietary information.
Yes, "proprietary information." She suggested I just walk around town and look for Verizon signs, because, "they're all well marked."
The good news is that there is indeed a pay phone across the street from the library, so we can just refer people there when necessary. And the woman was correct, it is well-marked.