A “Little Free Library” is a small container, often a cabinet, filled with books that passers-by can take, read, and return as they please. They can also donate their own books. There are thousands of these mini-libraries all over the world, but the city of Leawood, Kansas won’t stand for it, and has asked the family to take theirs down.
When we say “thousands,” were’ not exaggerating. There’s probably an officially registered Little Free Library near you, which you can find using this map.
The city isn’t trying to claim a monopoly on library services or anything like that. The library, which is a house-shaped cabinet the size of a particularly spacious birdhouse, is considered a “structure” from the city’s point of view, and single-family homes can’t have “structures” in their front yards. The city thinks that the house is an “accessory structure” like a shed or playhouse. It had to be removed from the front yard yesterday, or the family would receive a citation from the city.
This library was built by a nine-year-old boy and his father as a Mother’s Day gift, since his mother had seen a similar library elsewhere and loved the idea. Now they’ve stashed the “accessory structure” in the garage until the next meeting of the city council, when the nine-year-old who put up the library plans to make his case to the government.