Quite the storms we’ve been having in Florida. Most days seem to be “Oh, what a lovely sunny day we’re hav-” RAAAAWR NO MORE SUNNY DAY FOR YOU, RAIN RAIN NONSTOP FOR ??? MINUTES. Seriously, could be 5 minutes…could be all day.
…What the heck just happened? Mother nature likes to sucker punch us Florida folk.
For realsies, I’m scared to check my mailbox for fear that a hurricane will take me out before I get back inside.
This week on Brash Librarian, I’m saluting 9-year-old Spencer Collins from Leawood, Kansas – a boy who just wants to share his love for books with the world! Young Mr. Collins runs a free little communal library called “Take a book, Leave a book” inside a small homey box on his front lawn where people can try new books or donate old ones…or rather, he ran it before it was closed down his story aired backed in June.
“When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation,” said Spencer’s mother, Sarah Collins.
This trouble started when two people filed complaints against Spencer’s library, as Leawood bans buildings that aren’t attached to someone’s home. The family moved the little library up into the garage, but Spencer said he plans to take the issue up with the city and “tell them why it’s good for the community and why they should drop the law…I just want to talk to them about how good it is.”
Richard Coleman of Leawood’s City Hall responded saying, “We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules…We need to treat everybody the same.” Basically, they can’t grant them special favors just because it’s a cute little library. I totally get that, I’m all for policies and procedures. The real question I have is what horrible, maniacal, heartless person would file a complaint against such a thing? Kids do lemonade stands, girl scout cookies, church things and such all the time. I get the homeowners association “we don’t want activity that lowers our property/neighborhood value” mentality, but this ain’t that kind of party. This isn’t the unauthorized purple/pink/lime green shanty of a shed that’s an eyesore; this is a kid who loves books and is encouraging others to read. THIS IS WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE.
Collins, the ever resourceful boy and maybe future librarian, is using his smarts to fight the system. He states at one point, “I thought, why not get a rope and attach it to our house and the library?” with perfect loophole genius. What’s even better is that his genius is spreading and his cause is gaining ground and support. Since his story aired in June, Collins has been granted temporary permission by the city, he has partnered with Little Free Libraries, a nonprofit organization, and his own Facebook library page has over 32,000 likes, and even celebrities are taking notice!
YOU DON’T MESS WITH LEMONY SNICKET.
Thanks to hard work, perseverance, and a love of books, Spencer Collins got his library opened back up on July 7th. Sorry it had to wait until after the 4th. ‘Merica. Don’t have a little library in your area? Build one!
Spencer Collins, I salute you! You are definitely a Brash, Brash man. We all look forward to your future endeavors and can’t wait to see what else you do!
That’s all for now this week, be sure to like his page on Facebook or mine if you haven’t already!
Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian