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No Sharing! City Shuts Down 9-Year-Old’s Free Library Project

A book-loving 9-year-old’s home library project has been shut down by his town.

Spencer Collins loves to read. So he decided to start his own free library in front of his Leawood, Kansas home so that he could share the books he loves with his neighbors and friends.

“It’s kind of like I’m in a whole other world and I like that,” the little boy said, explaining he wanted others to have fun with books too. “I like adventure stories because I’m in the adventure and it’s fun.”

Basically a communal bookshelf where anyone can take or give a book, Spencer stocked his own free library in his yard with some of his favorites he was willing to share.

Troubled started, however, when Spencer and his family got back from vacation and found out that the tiny library had to go.

“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 explained.

Sarah added that, according to the city, the little library nook was considered a free-standing structure and that was not allowed.

The family has since moved the library into the garage, but 9-year-old Spencer said he plans on fighting the city’s decision because he does not think it is right.

“I would tell them why it’s good for the community and why they should drop the law,” the budding librarian and activist said. “I just want to talk to them about how good it is.”

Always thinking, he also has a plan to get around Leawood’s codes.

“I thought, why not get a rope and attach it to our house and the library?” he wondered.

Richard Coleman of the City of Leawood, however, said that a complaint was filed so the city had to act and have no intention of changing or bending the rules. “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries — we think they’re cute — so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

Photo Credit: Facebook

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.