You might be familiar with little free libraries, they might all look different ranging from a cupboard on a post to more ornate models with fancy woodwork or details added to make them look more like a house, but the idea behind them is still the same: a community accessible place to share books. Right now it’s estimated that there are over 16,000 of them world wide, you can find them in a wide variety of places, for example; peoples front yards and even in some standing libraries.
While the model is different from that of an actual library, the sentiment is the same and they’re garnered a lot of positive response. And not just as a “nice thing to do” either, little free libraries are now being seen as tools to be used to increase community engagement, address low-literacy issues, access to reading materials, and community unity (Collen, 2014).
Despite the benefits a Leawood man has been given a ultimatum by the city: take his down or face a citation as the little free library violates structural ordinances. Read the news story on it here.
There are a number of solutions to the problem: the library could be moved so that it is attached to the house, or it was suggested by the City Administrator to see if the public library would be willing to host a similar initiative. But both of these suggestions are missing part of the point. The intention of little free libraries is that they are incredibly accessible and in a way that the public library often can’t be.
Collen, L. (2014). Big Visions for Little Free Libraries: Literacy and Community Engagement. ILA Reporter, 32(3), 4-9.