By Brix Fowler, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -
Update: Brian Collins successfully made his case to the Leawood City Council. Starting Tuesday, he can put his library back up. The council is expected to take final action in mid-October.
Can a library be illegal? The city of Leawood says yes, but a little boy hopes to change their opinion on the matter.
Little Free Libraries are popping up across the metro. They allow book lovers to borrow and share their favorite books whenever they want.
"We came back to find a letter from the code enforcement telling us it was an illegal dwelling or structure," Brian Collins said.
Collins put up a Little Free Library on Mother's Day in his front yard near the intersection of 89th Street and Ensley Lane.
"Given that nothing can dwell in here except maybe mice, I really didn't understand what that was all about," he said.
According to the city, people living in Leawood can't have a free-standing structure in their front yard.
"My neighbors think it's awesome," Collins said.
Ken McGregor lives across the street.
"When they put it up, I thought it was kind of cool," McGregor said. "I would see the grandparents sit there and read to their kids. Kids will look around, pick up books and read. Seems like it's kind of fun."
Not everyone thinks it's fun. Another neighbor told KCTV5 off camera he's glad the city is making Collins remove the library because he believes it's an eyesore for the neighborhood.
The Collins family decided to take their Little Free Library down on Wednesday, the day before their deadline to remove it. It now sits in their garage.
Instead of paying a $25 per day fine, they hope to have a conversation with the city council about the possibility of changing their city codes to allow for the libraries.
Spencer Collins, 9, asked his parents if he could address the city council at their July 7 meeting. His mother, Sarah Collins, said he was left with a lot of questions after their library was taken down. She said he loved to check on the library and as soon as he got home, he would jump out of the car and run up to it to see what new books were left and which ones were borrowed. He hopes to explain to the city council why he loves Little Free Libraries so much and how important they are.
"The good thing is that, because of this, there are going to be more Little Free Libraries built everywhere. It's bringing attention to them," Sarah Collins said.
A spokesperson for the city said the reason for the ordinance is to not only protect the integrity of the neighborhood, but to make sure nothing negatively affects property values in Leawood.
Click here to sign a petition asking the city to reverse its decision.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
UPDATELittle boy to beg city council to spare his Little Free LibraryMore>>
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