[guest post by Dana]
Along with many of you, I am a voracious reader. I thank my parents for literally putting a lock on the television and making sure we always had a wide selection of books available to us, along with weekly trips to the library. What a wonderful lifelong habit to develop in children.
In light of that, it has been great to see the advent of the Little Free Library movement. The purpose is simple: It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.What better than neighborhoods providing free books to anyone passing by?
And, as Mrs. Obama recently exhorted at the Summer Learning Day Event hosted by the Department of Education, summer is the time to read:
And no matter what you do, every single one of you should read, read, read. That’s what the President tells our daughters. (Applause.) Libraries all across the country are hosting outstanding summer reading programs every single year. So you all have got to go in and pick up some of those new books, maybe on some subjects you don’t know much about. Because reading might be the most important thing you can do for your future. And you can never do enough of it. I know your parents tell you this, and we struggle in our own household to get our kids to turn off the screens and pick up books. But truly, reading is going to do so much for you. So pick up those books and really get into it.
So, how unfortunate it is that a Kansas City family who joined in the efforts by installing their own Little Free Library was given little option but to remove it.
The Collins family was told that their “Little Free Library” violates an ordinance that bans detached structures. Rather than pay the $25 per-day fine, they opted to put the library in the garage.
Spencer Collins, 9, doesn’t agree with Leawood’s policy and is planning to address the city council in July.
“I would tell them why it’s good for the community and why they should drop the law,” he told KMBC. “I just want to talk to them about how good it is.”
City officials expressed sympathy:
“We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules,” said Richard Coleman of the City of Leawood. “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries — we think they’re cute — so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”
Here’s hoping young Spencer Collins invites Mrs. Obama to join him at the city council meeting to tell city officials why their Little Free Library is good for the community.
UPDATE: From the Leawood Development Ordinance, PROHIBITED USES, Article 4 Supplemental Provision, 16-4-2:
The detached structure including garages, barns, sheds, greenhouses, above ground pools,nor outbuildings, shall be permitted, unless expressly allowed by this Ordinance.