- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Community book cubbies in families’ yards have been repeatedly burglarized in recent months all across the Twin Cities.

The Little Free Libraries have been mysteriously cleaned out multiple times, leaving the community out of books, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/2efgnb0 ) reported. The nonprofit Little Free Libraries promotes the idea for small mailbox-like structures in front of people’s yards that allow trading of personal books for free to encourage reading.

While nobody knows yet who is behind the thefts and why, there has been speculation that the books are being stolen so they can be sold at local bookstores. The nonprofit has been stamping the books to locate their whereabouts easier, should a Little Free Library be emptied. Former newspaper columnist Nick Coleman said the recurring thefts are a longstanding problem in St. Paul.

Although the thefts continue in the community, few Little Free Library owners are reporting the thefts to the St. Paul Police Department.

“I haven’t heard rumblings about these book dispensaries being raided,” department spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster said. However “sometimes these might go unreported since people are (running the little libraries) on a volunteer basis.”

St. Paul community members have expressed that residents have come together to help refill the libraries after a theft. A St. Paul resident wrote on Facebook that her library “was completely cleared out earlier this summer. The nice thing is I posted my sorrow and disbelief on a few community Facebook pages and people really stepped up to fill it with new books. That made me feel great!”


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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