Are Little Free Libraries Illegal?

Are Little Free Libraries Illegal?
image courtesy of:
image courtesy of:

You may have seen these little structures, slightly larger and more decorative than a birdhouse or mailbox, standing in people’s front yards near you. If you’ve gotten up close, you’ve noticed that they’re full of books and usually sport a sign that says “Take a book, Return a book”. These are little free libraries. The basic concept is that the community puts books in and shares freely.library-video

However, some people are starting to run into an issue. Apparently these little free libraries can be against local building codes. One man in Leawood KS is being faced with fines for his little free library. While he says his neighbors all enjoy the idea of the community library, one neighbor told KFVS news that it was an “eyesore”, so it seems like these tiny homes for books aren’t universally loved. You can get more information about what is going on in Leawood by reading the entire news story, which has a video with interviews as well.

If you’d like to participate in a community library experience and find a little free library near you, here’s a map of their current locations.

We’re curious to hear what you think about these. While we fully support the idea of sharing information freely, and many of us here at make think they actually look pretty cool, we have to acknowledge that they may very well be against local codes. What would you think if your neighbor built one? What if it wasn’t as pretty as the examples we’ve seen?



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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. find me at

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