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Kansas Boy Has Little Library Shut Down

TOPICS | Parenting | Education Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014 (320 views)

Help us spread the word for Spenser.  Visit his facebook page here for information on contacting the Leawood City Council.


Spenser Collins, 9, loves to read. The idea of sharing his love of books with his neighbors thrills him. So with the help of his parents, he set up a Little Free Library in their yard in Leawood, Kansas.

But the town of Leawood decided the birdhouse-sized library was an illegal structure and the family was ordered to remove it.

The family moved the Little Free Library into their garage. But they are looking to take the issue with City Hall, reported ABC affiliate KMBC.

The little library, which was made by the boy’s grandfather, was capable of holding a few books. Like the Little Free Libraries across the country, it had a “take a book, leave a book” note taped on its door. The bookshelf sat next to a bench on the family's front yard, which was intended to provide a spot for readers to enjoy their books.

"When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation," Spencer's mother, Sarah Collins told KMBC.

The City of Leawood bans buildings that aren't attached to homes. Since the library was a free standing structure in the family's front yard, it was considered illegal. The city has received two complaints regarding the library, according to Richard Coleman, Leawood's director of community development.

"First, there was just a library. Then, a bench was place next to it. I think people were concerned there would be more and more stuff at their front yard," Coleman told ABC News.

“I find it rather humorous that the city [of Leawood] thinks it is illegal," said Todd Bol, who helped create the Little Free Library movement in 2009. "It is a sweet thing that brings the community together."

Bol said the Little Free Library has worked well in some of the toughest communities across the country. There are more than 16,000 Little Free Libraries in 72 countries, according to Bol.

Collins family has set up a Facebook page to inform supporters of their progress. The page has received over 17,000 "likes."

"Our city law has been around for over a decade. This is the first time that we have had a problem with this," Coleman said. "We think that it is a great program. It's just that the current ordinance doesn't allow it."

Coleman said city council will look to see if they can amend the current ordinance.

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