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Free Little Library Prevails

I love those little “Free Little Libraries” I see in people’s neighborhoods. If you don’t know what these are (yet), it’s a structure of some kind where people can put books to give them away for free and others can take books for free – or borrow them to read and return with no system for checking in and out. I first saw one while visiting New Orleans and was happy to leave behind the book I had brought to read on the plane. Again, at a conference in Madison, Wisconsin, there was one in the neighborhood nearby the hotel where I was staying. I walked past it each morning, and though I didn’t have any books to give away that time, I made some folded blank books and left them behind to share with others. In my own neighborhood, I want to try a free library, but unfortunately, where we live – so close to a bar district – our own yard, fence, neighborhood signs – are often the target of post-2 a.m. revelers. Alas, I’ve been hesitant to build and put out something that would make such a tempting target. However, I am impressed with and admire those who can do this, which is why I was so upset to read about the plight of Spencer Collins whose free little library was shut down by the due to an ordinance that prohibits free-standing structures on people’s properties in Leawood County, Missouri. After petitioning the council, Spencer will be able to have his library back. Although the article says “temporarily” (ending October 20), I would hope that this becomes something the county, and any others like it with such ordinances, will look to make a permanent exception. For as often as I am distraught and depressed by the news that surrounds us every day, it only takes something like this for me to feel hope. Cheers to Spencer and all the other Free Little Library Curator!

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