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You can’t steal from a little free library, but can you censor it?

Jonny Diamond

February 11, 2022, 10:43am

We once again have to point out that you cannot actually “steal” from a little free library. And you should definitely not get the cops involved if you think someone is “stealing” the explicitly free things you’ve put out.

Little free libraries do NOT come with means tests.

But is it possible that someone in Waltham, Massachusetts is targeting an LGBTQ-focused Little Queer Library because of its subject matter? I’d like to think that an anxious, repressed, but ultimately caring parent is trying to learn as much as they can about queerness, to better love their child, but that is perhaps naively hopeful, even for me.

According to WickedLocal (yeah, I know), the Little Queer Library was started a couple of years ago by Katie Cohen and Krys Petrie who, new to the town of Waltham, began flying a rainbow pride flag and soon started receiving letters in gratitude for “being visibly queer.” As Cohen told WickedLocal:

When that happened, we realized that there were people looking for a community within Waltham, people who were LGBT who are looking for other people they can connect with. We kept that in mind and right before the pandemic, when I decided I wanted to start a little library, we wanted to have queer books in them.

Earlier this month Cohen noticed a single person at the library and went out shortly thereafter to discover “a large amount of new books” missing. This clear-out of the Little Queer Library comes at a time when Waltham Public Schools have placed two LGBTQ books under review, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe and This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson.

As is often the case with apparent acts of bigotry such as this, Petrie and Cohen have received an outpouring of support and will be restocking the Little Queer Library with an ever deeper, more robust collection of LGBTQ books. Which is good news for everyone.

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