Legal for now, new Little Free Library pops up in north Leawood

The Chaffees' north Leawood Little Free Library.
The Chaffees’ north Leawood Little Free Library.

When the Leawood City Council decides sometime in 2015 if Little Free Libraries will be made permanently legal in the city — and if so, what regulations would surround them — it will impact more than the Collins family whose Ensley Lane installation set off a national outcry when the city threatened to issue fines unless it was removed.

A new Little Free Library has come to north Leawood.

Joann Chaffee says she put a new library in the front yard of her home at 81st Street and Manor Road around Thanksgiving.

Chaffee’s grown children ordered the hutch from the Little Free Library website, and after the family installed it, the Chaffees put a red bench out next to it. She said she’s seen a steady stream of children and their parents stop and pull books out.

“It’s just a wonderful way to make books available,” she said. “We have so many children in strollers and parents walking around the neighborhood.”

Chaffee said the appeal of having a Little Free Library at her home was strong since she was a bookseller most of her working life. She and her husband Michael, who became a European History teacher at SM East, for a time owned Whistler’s Books, which had locations in Westport and Prairie Village.

As for the city’s deliberations of regulations for the structures, Chaffee didn’t appear too concerned.

“The heck with the city,” she said. “These are a great thing for neighborhoods.”