Highland Little Free Library deemed illegal and forced to close
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Upset and disappointed, that's how residents are reacting to the Shreveport and Caddo Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission's decision to shut down this little free library in Shreveport's Highland neighborhood.
"Streets need fixing, schools need fixing, and the library doesn't need to be shutdown," says Frederick Edgerton.
The little libraries have been popping up all over the world.
It's an international movement to make reading easier for everyone, but the local Metropolitan Planning Commission says it's a zoning violation. They are calling the free book swap program a commercial business in a residential area.
It's a "share a book, bring a book" like a library initiative but for now it's closed, a sight that is raising a lot of questions.
"The question is why?" said Edgerton.
That's Edgerton's only question when it comes to the letter from the Metropolitan Planning Commission notifying him of a zoning violation.
"I'm upset and disappointed in the attitude that the MPC has taken on a matter like this. It's a free library," said Edgerton.
Edgerton placed a chain over the Little Free Library after a single anonymous complaint caused the city to come up for an inspection that cited that technically it's a permanent structure built on a homeowners property without permit or permission and by ordinance it's illegal no matter its good intentions.
"I hope it's not a trend to shut these libraries down," said Edgerton.
According to zoning coordinator Alan Clarke who declined an on camera interview, the MPC is checking out other places in the city where library exchange boxes are located and if they locate them, they will also issue them a cease letter.
"I guess someone needed something to complain about," said David Self.
Just hours after these chains went up, the Edgerton's posted about it online and since then, the post has received over a hundred shares.
David Self lives next door and is puzzled to see the MPC picking a fight with a book trading station.
"It's not doing any harm at all. Seems like they got their priorities all messed up," said Self.
Theresa and Frederick Edgerton put up the library last month to spark unity in the community.
"I was applauding them every time I would see it," said Self.
To them it's more than just a place to pick up books.
"It's not like a kindle, it's a book in your hand, you can feel it and smell it," said Edgerton.
The couple isn't standing alone.
"If there's anything that we can do, just put the word out. I think this whole neighborhood would be very supportive," said Self.
Edgerton says the chain wasn't necessary, it's his own personal touch. The couple isn't giving up, they're looking into ways to keep the library open.
The couple has ten days to appeal the MPC's decision and discuss other options available to them, but in the meantime they must comply with the letter.
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