Book ‘Em, Danno: Why On Earth Do People Hate Little Free Libraries?

Little Free Libraries gained recognition in 2009 when a Wisconsin man erected a small, wooden box in his front yard to honor his mother. As she loved reading and was a former teacher, her son created this quasi-library on a post modeled after a one-room schoolhouse. The idea was to encourage neighbors to read and exchange books. Now, these tiny reminders of literacy and education face backlash due to bureaucratic nonsense. Help save Little Free Libraries and make a few friends in the process.

Here’s how Little Free Libraries work. Wooden boxes, sometimes on sturdy posts, contain a few dozen books for people to read and exchange. When someone finishes reading the book, the person returns the copy or brings another book to leave in its place. Private citizens erect these little libraries in front yards for anyone to use.


Perceived Problems

Issues developed in Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana, when neighbors and city officials complained of these tiny structures may interfere with building codes, according to The Atlantic. In April 2015, a proud mother of three in Dallas built a Little Free Library only to have a neighbor complain about it just after she finished it, notes The Dallas Morning News. An ordinance in Dallas states that nothing can be stored outside someone’s house for more than 24 hours that normally doesn’t belong outdoors. Apparently, books don’t belong outside in a front yard.


Why These Need to Stay

One op-ed writer for Portland’s Oregon Live website satirically wrote that these Little Free Libraries may bring down the public library system if enough property owners erect the structures. One 76-year-old in Sherman Oaks, California, extolled how he “met more neighbors in the first three weeks of his Little Free Library opening than in the previous 30 years”.

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Supporters believe the Free Little Library movement encourages reading, community involvement, friendship, and the free exchange of ideas. Find one in your area with this map of Little Free Libraries across the United States.

These small wonders help people get together and support each other through reading. Find out how you can help the Little Free Library movement by checking out this story on The Literacy Site.

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Help supply books to kids in need at The Literacy Site for free!