Naturally, the government has to ruin everything, including Little Free Libraries.
You may have seen one of these little bird house turned mini-libraries in your neighborhood. They’re a lovely idea. Simple, no fuss, and quite fun. Donate a book, borrow a book. Nothing to sign, no due date, no late fees, just common courtesy.
Conor Freidersdorf of The Atlantic explored the ridiculous trend of “shutting down” unregulated community book sharing.
In Kansas, residents were told to remove the library at peril of fine:
The Leawood City Council said it had received a couple of complaints about Spencer Collins’ Little Free Library. They dubbed it an “illegal detached structure” and told the Collins’ they would face a fine if they did not remove the Little Free Library from their yard by June 19.
Evidently, Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana are hotbeds of illicit literary lending activity.
Michael Schaub of the Los Angeles Times reported:
In Los Angeles, Peter Cook, who acts under the name Peter Mackenzie, and his wife, writer Lili Flanders, were told by a city investigator that their curbside library was an obstruction. They were given a week to remove it, or else face fines from the city. This came after an anonymous note from “a neighbor who hates you and your kids” was left on their library, ordering them to “Take it down or the city will.”
The couple is declining to remove or relocate the library, with Cook telling the Times that he’ll refuse to obey “the blinded Cyclops of L.A. city — wildly swinging its cudgel to destroy something that has made the city and this neighborhood a better place.”
A spokesman for City Councilman Paul Koretz said there’s a chance the library could remain if the owners got a permit, which could be paid for by city arts funds.
Paid for by the city arts fund? Why does sharing a book with your neighbor required city funding? Oh yes, because government.
Meanwhile, purveyors of one Shreveport based Little Free Library have told their local government to “sod off.”
It’s a similar situation to the one in Shreveport, where the city sent a cease and desist letter to the owners of a Little Free Library. Ricky and Teresa Edgerton were told they could file an appeal to let the library remain, but it would cost $500.
Residents of the Louisiana city were not amused. An artist named Kathryn Usher constructed a makeshift lending library outside her home, and told The (Shreveport) Times, “I did it in solidarity with Ricky. I’m basically telling the [Metropolitan Planning Commission] to go sod off.” Another Shreveport resident, Chris Redford, did the same thing, saying, “I just put my books out there to show that I support the Little Free Libraries in every community and what they stand for.”
It’s enough to make a girl want to throw ALL the books in the harbor in protest. But I like books and that might ruin them.
Professor Jacobson has the better idea here — a protest donation:
Long live the unregulated Little Free Library!
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