9-Year-Old's Mother's Day Gift Shut Down By City

| by Lisa Fogarty

A 9-year-old boy and his family have been told to shut down the little library they erected in their Kansas front yard in order to spread their love of reading to their community because it violates a long-standing ordinance.

Spencer Collins and his father and grandfather reportedly worked together to construct their “free little library” as a Mother’s Day gift for mom Sarah Collins, who is an elementary school teacher, Fox News reports. The result of their labor was a cabinet-like structure with clear glass doors and a shingled roof. They placed the library at the base of their driveway and got the word out to their Leawood neighbors: all would be welcome to stop by and “give and take” as many books as they wanted.

Spencer says he loves to read because it makes him feel like he’s in a whole other world. He was eager to create a space in which people could discover new books and discuss the ones they have read. But when the family returned home from a recent vacation, they were greeted by a letter from the city of Leawood instructing them to take down their library before they received a citation. The library is considered an “accessory structure” and the city bans buildings that are not attached to a home, according to KMBC-TV.

The family followed their orders and moved the library to a garage, but they plan on fighting the law by bringing this matter up at the next city council meeting.

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

The boy’s father Brian is ready to support him. “I’m all for the law,” he said. “I think the law is a good one. I think the intent of the law is a good one. I think applying it to something that won’t house mice is a bad idea.”

Richard Coleman of the city of Leawood says he understands where this family is coming from, but that a law is a law. “We need to treat everybody the same,” Coleman said. “So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the libraries – we think they’re cute – so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

Sources: Fox News, KMBC-TV

Photo Sources: KMBC-TV, Prairie Village Post