Open a small community library, get fined or shut down?

Spencer community libraryThe spirit of the community library and encouraging reading is clearly not evenly distributed everywhere across the U.S. As citizens of Leawood, Kansas, found when they started erecting Little Free Libraries in their yards – which apparently are prohibited under a city ordinance banning freestanding structures in their front yards.

Campaigners supporting one of the most widely publicized Little Free Libraries, erected for nine-year-old Spencer Collins as a gift from his grandfather with the help of the other members of the Collins family, have put up a Facebook page, “Spencer’s Little Free Library,” to rally support, after the Leawood city council ordered its removal. As of the time of writing, it had 8900 Likes. “Help Spencer work with Leawood, Kansas to amend its city code to allow Little Free Libraries!” runs the page description. The link above carries a detailed response by a Leawood council member.

“Little Free Libraries are popping up across the metro,” states KCTV’s original report. “They allow book lovers to borrow and share their favorite books whenever they want.” The case has now gone nationwide and attracted numerous reports. “Good luck to the city of Leawood as it attempts to extract itself from the tempest created when a family‚Äôs front-yard lending library was found to be in violation of the city code,” editorialized the Kansas City Star.

There may be more than simple bureaucratic bumptiousness to the story, though. The original KCTV report quotes one neighbor who considered the Little Free Library an eyesore, and also states that the original rationale for the ordinance was “not only protect the integrity of the neighborhood, but to make sure nothing negatively affects property values in Leawood.”

About Paul St John Mackintosh (1555 Articles)
Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Lenovo cell phone. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.

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