Leawood family forced to take down community library from yard

LEAWOOD, Kan. - A Leawood family was forced to take down a community library box after they were told it's a violation of a city development ordinance.

The Collins originally built the Little Free Library on Mother's Day as a way to share their love of reading.
"People stop by there saying, ‘Oh were so glad you put this up what a great idea,’" Sarah Collins said, whose father helped build the box.

Inside the box is a world of possibilities through the eyes of children's authors like Cynthia Voigt and Henry Holt.

Collins placed the little library on her front yard, available to anyone 24/7.

"I’m a teacher and I love the idea of putting books in people’s hands and the idea of building community and neighborhoods," she said, "I thought this is a fabulous idea."

Her 9-year-old son Spencer agrees.

"I like it because I love reading and I can keep the books as long as I want and in a regular library I have to return them," he said.

Several weeks later, the family found a letter placed by the city's code inspector saying the box needed to go. City works doesn't allow any detached structures to be placed in front yards.

They say it’s a common prohibition for cities and gave the family the option of contacting the Johnson County Public Library to see whether they can move the box there.

"That kind of defeats the purpose," Collins said. "The library is there and does a beautiful job of providing books for people but this is just for our neighborhood and for a quick, little way to put in a book that you're done reading."

So what took nearly 20 hours to put up, took less than five minutes to take down. But the Collins say they haven't given up their fight just yet.

"I would really like the city to look at amending the code and doing an exception to allow these libraries," Collins said. 

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