SHREVEPORT (AP) — Shreveport’s Metropolitan Planning Commission has shut down a book swap box called a “Little Free Library,” and others could face the same fate.
City ordinances allow libraries only in commercial zones, zoning administrator Alan Clarke told The Times.
Rick Edgerton said the commission told him it would cost $500 to appeal the ruling against the Little Free Library that he and his wife, Teresa Edgerton, created, KSLA-TV reported.
Rick Edgerton made the wooden box with shelves, a hinged glass front and a sign telling people who pass their house to “take a book, return a book.”
The couple has 10 days to appeal the decision, which KSLA reports was prompted by a single anonymous complaint.
City Councilman Jeff Everson, in whose district the Edgertons live, said that if necessary, he will work for a change that would allow the book exchange, bringing a resolution to the City Council’s next meeting.
“I think it’s just incumbent on us to find a solution as quickly as we possibly can,” said Everson, adding that he’s proud of the fight to remove the heavy chain and lock put on the box.
“I’ve been tagged in a lot of the conversations going on — it’s really kind of a privilege to represent such passionate constituency,” he said.
Little Free Libraries are an international movement in which people put books outside their homes for anyone to read. People can return the same book or leave another in return.
There are at least two other registered Little Free Libraries in Shreveport and a number of unofficial lending boxes around the city, said Brittany Turner, who told the Edgertons about the movement.
Everson and Clarke said they are looking at how other cities have handled similar issues.
According to the Little Free Library movement’s blog, there are more than 20,000 registered worldwide, in more than 70 countries. At least 28 are located around Louisiana, including four in New Orleans, five in Baton Rouge and three in DeRidder, according to a list at littlefreelibrary.org.
Everson said he also will look at the zoning code to see if changes need to be made to let the book exchange continue.
Clarke said the zoning division stands by its decision, and would do the same thing to any other Little Free Library that’s reported. The department only went to the Edgertons’ “because it bothered someone,” he said.