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Georgia promotes 'Little Free Library' as Kansas shuts one down

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As news about a little boy's effort at creating a free library operation at his home in Kansas draws more attention, the child's father has taken down the birdhouse-like structure after contacting the mayor, who said it violates city codes, since it isn't attached to the family's home.

According to this June 19 Pitch post, the child's simple effort to give other people in his community a nearby place to go to in order to borrow a book has turned into a nasty battle over city codes and whether a homeowner can erect a birdhouse-like structure in their front yard or not.

These "little libraries" have cropped up at homes and parks all over the country since Tod Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin "built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading." Putting the bird house on a post, he filled it with books and sat it in his front yard, so his neighbors could borrow a book from the structure at any time.

It was a novel idea, and definitely a socially positive one, since it sought to empower any passerby to read, since the books were free and available without the need of a library card. And as many as 15,000 similar type "official" structures have been erected as a result, according to the official website of the Little Free Libraries.

And one of those is the one named the Book Barn at the Chatsworth City Park in Murray County, Georgia. It was put up as a free resource to residents and park attendees thanks to the members of Alpha Delta Kappa, who, in the fall of 2013, finally joined the socially positive movement begun by Tod Bol in 2009.

The United Way will be the one paying to register the Book Barn as an official free library of Tod Bol's national group, according to a January 2014 report from the Dalton Daily Citizen newspaper. But not every free library built and erected does so, with some choosing to just put up the free book structures and not bother with getting them listed on the official GPS mapping done by Bol's group.

In the Kansas situation it would not have mattered if Brian Collins, the father of the nine-year-old boy who set up the free little library in the family's front yard, had registered the library with Bol's group first. That's because the little library organization has no jurisdiction over local city ordinances established elsewhere in the country.

So it will be up to that Kansas family to fight this battle at the next Leawood City Council, and Today's Al Roker hopes they do--and that the city council will "do the right thing" in this situation. Otherwise, it would cost this Kansas family $25 a day in fines to keep their free little library in their own front yard.

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