As It Happens

Family's Little Free Library gets shut down in Leawood, Kansas

They were looking for a fun way to share his love of reading, not to break the law. Back in May, nine-year-old Spencer Collins and his family built a Little Free Library on their front lawn in Leawood, Kansas. The small box of books was open to all to borrow -- with no late fees -- and operated on the...
Nine-year-old Spencer Collins stands in his family's Leawood, Kansas front yard with their 'Little Free Library' (Photo: Courtesy of Brian Collins)

They were looking for a fun way to share his love of reading, not to break the law. Back in May, nine-year-old Spencer Collins and his family built a Little Free Library on their front lawn in Leawood, Kansas. The small box of books was open to all to borrow -- with no late fees -- and operated on the "take a book, return a book" principle. Unfortunately, the city dubbed it an "illegal detached structure" and demanded it be taken down.

"He doesn't quite understand why it's illegal. It just doesn't make sense to him." Brian Collins, Spencer's father, tells Carol. "He wants to talk to city council himself... he's gonna tell them that the law needs to change because reading is a good thing."

The Collins family's Little Free Library is now housed in the garage, but when it was on the front lawn, it was a popular neighbourhood attraction, with dozens of borrowers and book donations.

Spencer's Little Free Library... now in the garage. (Photo: Courtesy of Brian Collins)

"[Spencer] would run out every day and check it to see what was gone. He'd get all excited if someone picked up a book or dropped off a book," Mr. Collins tells Carol.

"Little free libraries do nothing but enhance community and literacy and if we don't encourage those two things, it really is a black mark against the city of Leawood."

UPDATE: At a meeting on Monday, July 7th, the Leawood City Council approved a temporary moratorium that exempts Little Free Libraries from a city ordinance that prohibits structures in front yards. And by Tuesday morning, the Collins family had happily returned their library to their front lawn.

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