Caddo Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC)?has decided to wage a war against reading by declaring that a Little Library located in Shreveport, Louisiana’s Highland neighborhood is a commercial venture and in violation of zoning ordinances.
Little libraries are known around the world. The first Little Library was made in 2009 by Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, who fashioned his lending box after a one-room schoolhouse in honor of his mother, a lifelong school teacher. Bol filled the little schoolhouse with books and placed it in his front yard. It was well received by his neighbors, and he was soon building and placing more around his town.
The enterprise was noticed by Rick Brooks, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the rest is history… or fiction… or non-fiction… or whatever people put into their Little Libraries. From their website:
“By January of 2014, the total number of registered Little Free Libraries in the world was conservatively estimated to be nearly 15,000, with thousands more being built.”
Since the first Little Library in 2009, they have become a registered non-profit under USC 501 (c)(3) as Little Free Library, Ltd. Their website lists their board of directors and includes a currently incomplete Google map of a good number of the Little Free Libraries scattered around the world. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section contains all the information anyone could need in order to start their own lending library affiliated with LFL, Ltd.
Little Free Libraries are anything but a commercial venture. Ordinary people that enjoy reading erect the tiny structures as a way to share their love of books and reading with friends and neighbors. In some areas, the free libraries are the only source of books for people that either can’t afford to buy them, or don’t have transportation to a local lending library in a more traditional brick and mortar setting.
Why, then, has the town of Shreveport decided to wage a war against them? Most of the people in the town don’t understand it, and neither does Councilman Jeff Everson.
“Shreveport City Councilman Jeff Everson says he will do what it takes to get the Little Free Library back up and running after it was shut down earlier this week by a zoning complaint.”
Hopefully, the forces of literacy win out in this squabble over sharing your love of reading with your neighbors.