Temporary moratorium exempts Kansas boy's 'Little Free Libraries' from ordinance

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Spencer Collins can turn the page and reopen his “Little Free Library” in his front yard for now, thanks to a temporary moratorium passed late Monday by council members in a Kansas town.

The Leawood City Council unanimously approved a moratorium, effective Tuesday, until Oct. 20 to re-examine a decade-old ordinance that banned tiny structures in front yards. The decision came after the 9-year-old boy addressed council members during a public comment portion of the meeting, Fox4KC.com reports.

“I like checking the little library to see what books have been taken and what new books are left,” he said. “I think free little libraries are good for Leawood and I hope you will change the code.”

The boy’s father, Brian Collins, said he hoped an amended ordinance would pass.

“For one simple reason: promote literacy and promote community, two things we can all agree on are good,” Brian Collins said.

One unidentified man argued that the little structures are actually an “eyesore” that could decrease property values.

“You will destroy Leawood if you destroy our codes and bylaws,” he said.

Spencer, meanwhile, said he was pleased that the ruling will allow his library to stay at least temporarily. He made national headlines last month when Leawood officials asked his family to remove the library.

The lending library trend began in Wisconsin, according to the Kansas City Star, and has led to more than 30 little libraries in the Kansas City area. They foster literacy by suggesting that people “take a book, return a book.”

Not everyone is a fan, however.

“Why do we pay taxes for libraries and have those boxes on our streets?” Leawood resident Wade King asked, according to the Star. “In a blighted area? Sure, put them everywhere. We’re not a poor area. We don’t need them.”