Little Free Libraries are under attack from city zoning authorities
It’s a charming, harmless idea – people leaving free books for passersby to take home with them – but apparently city officials around the country are taking issue with the movement, claiming the small, mailbox-sized libraries are “illegal detached structures” that impede pedestrians and emergency vehicles from accessing the sidewalk. In many cases they are demanding these small library boxes be removed and are fining the owners.
Supporters of the idea (read: everyone else) feel this is a ridiculous overreach of local government authority, and in many cases the outcry has only helped to spread the idea. The Atlantic sums up the issue well: “We’ve constructed communities where one must obtain permission from the state before freely sharing books with one’s neighbors!”
Show solidarity by starting your own, writing your local leaders
In a growing number of cities, local residents are starting their own Little Free Libraries in protest. Artist Kathryn Usher placed a stack of books outside her home with a sign reading “Free Range Books Take One Leave One” to show solidarity with the movement. Others are writing their local officials, demanding that law enforcement use their limited time and resources to protect the public from more dangerous things than free books.
- The Atlantic | The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit
- Shreveport Times | Community rallies around Little Free Library
- LA Times | Actor’s curbside library is a smash — for most people