When the Whitefish Bay Village Board decided not to allow Little Free Libraries on front lawns, a number of concerns were raised about vandalism, size regulations and a potential for the devices to turn into vessels for propaganda.
Although the majority of Patch readers voted that the Whitefish Bay board should've allowed Little Free Libraries, it appears at least one of the Whitefish Bay board's concerns has come true in South Milwaukee, where a Little Free Library has been filled with pamphlets spreading religious-based fear.
John Nuck, who has a Little Free Library on his property in South Milwaukee, says unknown people are distributing religious leaflets "warning of impending doom and a one-way ticket to hell," according to Oak Creek Patch. The pamphlets continue to appear in the box, despite a sign asking the people to stop.
"This proliferation of dogma has caused concern in our little community, whose children often exchange books and confront these worrisome messages of fear," Nuck said.
South Milwaukee is not the only community where the Little Free Libraries have been associated with some trouble. In Bayside, three girls took a book from a Little Free Library and burned the pages of the book "to stay warm," according to Fox Point-Bayside Patch.
The concept of a Little Free Library is simple: people visit a birdhouse-sized box, take a book that interests them, and replace it with another. Anyone can use them, and readers are encouraged to put their name in the book or pass on a note to the next reader.
The Whitefish Bay Village Board took up the topic of Little Free Libraries after a resident asked the village for permission to build one. The structures technically go against the village code that prohibits structures on front lawns. With the board's decision to enforce the existing code, the village plans to order the Little Free Library at Christ Church be taken down.