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Kansas boy fighting back after outdoor library shut down by ordinance

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This photo shows 9-year-old Kansas City boy Spencer Collins with his outdoor library (Courtesy WDAF-TV)

A 9-year-old Kansas boy says he is fighting back after city officials forced him to take down the outdoor library he had created on his front lawn as a Mother’s Day gift.

Spencer Collins told Fox4KC he had the idea to create a “free little library” after his mother, an elementary school teacher, saw the idea in another state. The idea is to share books and a love of reading among neighbors by placing books in a clear box, and encouraging others to take a book from it or leave a book in it.

“Reading is one of my favorite things to do. We built it on Mother’s Day as a present for my mom because she really wanted one,” Spencer said.

 However, the family soon received a letter from local officials telling them they must take down their library or face a fine. The letter said the library violated an ordinance that forbids structures on the front lawns of single-family homes.

“I thought it was ridiculous,” Spencer’s father Brian Collins said.

City official Richard Coleman told Fox4KC that the law applies to any structure, and the city is not trying to crack down on the “free little libraries.”  

“You couldn’t put a bookcase out there, or a couch out there, or any items like that,” Coleman said.

The family took down the library so they would not face a fee, but Spencer plans on fighting back. He told Fox4KC he plans on speaking at Tuesday’s city council meeting to take a stand against the ordinance.

“I want them to change the law. That’s my main thought. I just don’t like it. I think it’s unfair because it’s really good to the community,” he told Fox4KC.

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