Ottawa bylaw tells homeowner to tear down her Little Free Library
Published Thursday, September 8, 2016 4:49PM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 9, 2016 2:44PM EDT
An Ottawa homeowner has been told she's got until next Friday to tear down her little free library at the end of her property. The little library belongs to Mimi Golding who lives on Oxford Street in Hintonburg.
Golding is fighting for a “stay of execution” for the little cabinet-sized library at the edge of her yard.
City bylaw is the one wielding the axe but her councillor is confident he can get a reprieve.
For three years, Mimi Golding has been stocking her little free library with much-loved books she's ready to pass on to someone else.
“It's been a great pleasure to wander the neighborhood and watch people stand here and pick up books,” says Golding, as she reaches inside to place several books inside.
The Little Free Library is a concept that has grown world-wide: place a book or take a book, all for free in the interests of promoting literacy which is especially important on this, World Literacy Day.
“It gets a lot of usage,” says Golding, “and people, when I’m out in the yard, have commented about how happy they are with it.”
That is, until someone complained to the city of Ottawa. The city bylaw department took a look and told Golding she’s got until next Friday to take her little library down because it encroaches on the city's right of way. Jeff Leiper is the councillor for the area.
“What this has raised for me is the vulnerability of these little libraries across the city,” says Leiper, “almost all of which are on city property.”
Golding says she was told by Bylaw officers that she needs to move her little library three meters back, which would put it almost right against her house.
Her neighbour Terry Plunkett isn't pleased. She uses Golding's library all the time.
“I often borrow books from there,” says Plunkett, “other people stop, they drop books off, too, and it seems to be a bit of a community place.”
Leiper has used it, too. He is trying to come up with a solution.
“I'm wondering whether it is time to create a new class of encroachment permit, that residents could apply for with minimum fuss to be allowed to encroach on the city's right of way with these little libraries.”
Leiper says he's working on a couple of ideas and is confident he can come up with a solution by tomorrow.
Mimi Golding is upset but not yet, out of the game.
“I'm a non-practicing librarian and this is my library,” she says “I love it a lot.”