ON THE STUMP: Sheila Bower’s Little Free Library on McCommas Boulevard is a tribute to her late Airedale Terrier.

A War on Books

Will Dallas destroy all its Little Free Libraries?

In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a schoolhouse, filled it up with books, and put it on the front lawn. “Take a book. Leave a book.” That was the invitation. Everyone loved the small replicas, so Bol and a partner built more Little Free Libraries to give away. They have now spread to more than 70 countries and 32,000 locations, with owners registering their creations online. It’s hard to imagine anyone being against the concept. We are talking about libraries that are little and free. But they’ve run afoul of the Dallas City Code. Within section 51-4.217 is a regulation that reads: “A person shall not place, store, or maintain outside, for a continuous period in excess of 24 hours, an item which is not customarily used or stored outside … .” Complaints have been lodged. The City Council has gotten involved. In November, Dallas’ Quality of Life Committee discussed how the city might regulate the libraries. Fortunately, the committee ran out of time before it could act. But as D Magazine was going to press in late November, the committee was scheduled to revisit the issue. Fingers crossed that common sense—and literacy—carry the day.

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