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A Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin couple asked their Village trustees for permission to place a Little Free Library in their front yard, allowing neighbors and passers-bys to stop and exchange books for free.
The Village of Whitefish Bay refused permission, and even worse, the village is ordering a church to take down the suburb's only existing Little Free Library, which wasn't bothering anybody.
The Little Free Library movement began in Hudson, Wis., in 2009. Co-founder Todd Bol said the number of these weather-resistant book holders, not much bigger than a breadbox, has grown from 100 to more than 4,000 nationwide and beyond in the past year. Bol compared the self-service libraries to "a porch that reaches to your sidewalk," and he expressed surprise that Whitefish Bay wasn't more welcoming. "I don't really hear of pushback when it comes to putting it in someone's yard," he said. "Personally, if I was Whitefish Bay, I'd feel embarrassed."
Tell the Village of Whitefish Bay Board of Trustees to encourage literacy and promote community at the sidewalk level by changing the ordinance cited to bring the hammer down on Little Free Libraries.
Dear Village of Whitefish Bay Board of Trustees,
Please show that you stand for literacy and support community by changing the ordinance that would make it illegal for Whitefish Bay residents to establish Little Free Libraries in their yards.
Frankly, your inability or unwillingness to support such a well-intentioned and community-strengthening book exchange does not speak well for your Board members. And requiring Christ Church to take down their beautiful and much used Little Free Library in order to comply with an outdated Whitefish Bay ordinance speaks volumes about the unresponsiveness of government to change with the times and for the good of the community.
As a former resident of Whitefish Bay, I ask you to please reconsider your stance on allowing Little Free Libraries in the Village. It only detracts from what is an otherwise enlightened and charming community.