Vandals burn books, destroy Little Free Library in Kansas City

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 20:59:29-04

For someone who doesn’t love to read, Wendy McDermott had a crazy idea. She wanted to bring her neighbors together by enjoying a good book. 

“When I kind of started this, my husband said, ‘You don’t really read books,’ and I don’t,” McDermott told 41 Action News. 

But that did not stop the Kansas City neighbor from putting a tiny, yellow box in front of her home for her neighbors to enjoy. 

The McDermotts installed their Little Free Library a month ago to build a sense of community in their neighborhood.

Known as a little free library, the small box serves as a "community library." It’s filled with books for kids, teenagers and adults to use for free.  

“I have a house on a great corner. A lot of people ride their bikes and walk or jog or run. I feel like it was a way to further our community, our neighborhood,” McDermott said. "For me it wasn’t really about the books, it was about the sense of community.” 

But last week, nearly a month after it was installed, vandals targeted McDermott’s project. They smashed the glass door, cut the solar panel used to light the library at night and tore and burned some of the books. 

About 40 books were in the case before the vandalism. Only two books remained in tact after the vandalism. 

Vandals targeted the Little Free Library, burning and tearing the books inside.

"They were around the street, they were a couple blocks away. To the right, to the left. Some were burned, some were just ripped,” she said. "I don’t get it. I have to be honest, I don’t understand."

Since last week’s vandalism, McDermott’s neighbors have helped her rebuild by donating books and posting online. One mother and daughter the McDermott’s never met donated 25 books. 

"We’ve had emails and we’ve had Facebook posts. I’ve kind of lost count of the amount of positives that have come out of it,” McDermott said. 

The Little Free Library is now back open for business in the same location, with a new coat of paint and a new glass door. The McDermotts are offering a cash reward for anyone with information to catch the vandals. 

To make a contribution, you can drop off all books to the little free library on the corner of Northwest 75th Street and Park Forest Lane. 



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