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9-Year-Old Kansas Boy Opens a 'Free Library' on His Front Lawn — Then the City Gov't Stepped In


"We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules."

Image source: Facebook

Merely observing that 9-year-old Spencer Collins is passionate about reading doesn't come close to describing how deep his appreciation goes.

"It's kind of like I'm in a whole other world and I like that," the Leawood, Kansas, lad told KMBC-TV in Kansas City. "I like adventure stories because I'm in the adventure and it's fun."

Image source: KMBC-TV Image source: KMBC-TV

Collins is so enthusiastic about turning pages that he figured he'd get his community involved — and placed a miniature communal library on his front lawn.

Image source: Facebook Image source: Facebook

The motto emblazoned on the glass door of the small bookcase, complete with shingled roof? "Take a book, leave a book."

Image source: KMBC-TV Image source: KMBC-TV

Well, apparently Collins' gesture fell flat with a couple of folks who complained to the city government. You can only imagine what happened next...

"When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation," Collins' mother Sarah told KMBC.

Image source: KMBC-TV Image source: KMBC-TV

Leawood said Collins' front-lawn library is an accessory structure and is banned since it's not attached to the house.

While the family obliged and moved the little library to their garage on Wednesday, Collins unsurprisingly is putting his mind to use in this case.

"I thought, 'Why not get a rope and attach it to our house and the library?'" he offered as one solution, adding that he set up a Facebook page called "Spencer's Little Free Library" as a nonprofit organization focused on the issue...and also is reading up on city codes so he can formally take up the matter with officials.

"I would tell them why it's good for the community and why they should drop the law," Collins told KMBC. "I just want to talk to them about how good it is."

Richard Coleman of the City of Leawood told KMBC that "we empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules."

Image source: KMBC-TV Image source: KMBC-TV

"We need to treat everybody the same. So we can't just say, if somebody files a complaint, 'But we like the little libraries -- we think they're cute,' so we ignore it. We can't do that."

KMBC noted that nearby communities do have structures similar to what Collins created and one of them, Prairie Village, "doesn't enforce codes that would restrict little free libraries."

(H/T: BoingBoing)

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