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July 08, 2014 06:00 PM

Little Library Supported In South Dakota

Sisseton, SD

Controversy over a little library sitting in a front yard hit a Kansas community but not one in KELOLAND.

A Kansas family removed a Little Free Library when a letter from the city said it violated zoning laws. City council members voted unanimously this week to allow the little library to return, at least for now.

Some South Dakota communities have Little Free Libraries as well. Jane Rasmussen of Sisseton had the state’s first registered Little Free Library. She says she hasn’t received any complaints in the couple years it’s been sitting in her front yard.

"That's why I was really surprised to hear that there's been some controversy and talk about zoning issues and things," Rasmussen said.

In other parts of the country that is. If there's a zoning law in Sisseton that would prevent a little library from being set up in a yard, officials at city hall don't know about it.

Rasmussen says the little library has not only been allowed in town, it's been welcomed.

"I do use it. I like it. I think it's a great idea. I think more kids should use it," Duncan Osborne said.

Kids can come and take any book from the library free of charge. While they're at it, they can also leave one for another kid to read.

Ruthie Osborne: Well, like I putted some baby books in there.
Erich Schaffhauser: Oh, cause you're not a baby anymore?
Ruthie: Yes.

It's not just the neighborhood kids reaching in for something to read, Rasmussen says people stop by and ask whether she needs more donations to keep the library stocked. She's even added another shelf because it was so full.

"I like it because I like to read books and I like libraries," Kira Torness said.

With such a positive response, Rasmussen would much rather hear about more little libraries here in South Dakota, than any complaints about them.

According to the non-profit’s website, there are seven registered Little Free Libraries in South Dakota. Rapid City has the most with three. Zoning officials in that city say they haven’t received complaints either.

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