Take a book, leave a book. Until, that is, you get booked:
A Leawood law has forced a young boy and his family to take down something they built as a Mother’s Day gift. The family set up a cabinet-like structure with clear glass doors and a shingled roof near the base of the driveway. They called it a “free little library” where people could give and take books from the shelves.
Nine-year-old Spencer Collins said his mother, who is an elementary school teacher, loved the idea when she saw it in another state. Spencer decided to work with his father and grandfather to build the free little library for their front yard.
“Reading is one of my favorite things to do. We built it on Mother’s Day as a present for my mom because she really wanted one.”
But the family came home from a trip to find a letter explaining the library violated an ordinance which doesn’t allow structures in the front yard of single-family homes.
On the one hand, the law is the law:
Leawood director of community development Richard Coleman said the city isn’t targeting Spencer’s library, but is enforcing a law.
“It applies to any structure, so we aren’t targeting the little libraries. You couldn’t put a bookcase out there, or a couch out there, or any items like that,” Coleman said.
(Mildly amusing he describes bookcases and couches as potential violations, doesn’t mention structures actually likely to end up on a lawn, like mailboxes or dog houses.)
On the other hand:
Spencer’s father says that stance is a misinterpretation.
“I’m all for the law. I think the law is a good one. I think the intent of the law is a good one. I think applying it to something that won’t house mice is a bad idea,” he said.
But this is where Mr. Spencer and I must part ways. “Won’t house mice”? What in the world do you think goes on in libraries?
Update, 6/20, courtesy of Senior Canadian Correspondent AL: Even in Canada: