Little Libraries are adorable, kind ways to share books in a neighborhood. I built a shelf into my front fence that became more of a community pantry. Clothes, blankets, shoes, canned food, packaged goods, and lots of books show up in it. It sounds like one Little Library in San Francisco was lovely, and appreciated by its community so naturally San Francisco slapped them with a hefty fine.
For more than a decade, Susan Meyers' front sidewalk proved a cheerful hub in her Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood — until one anonymous grump called 311. In this city notorious for giving tremendous credence to solitary complainers — who have the right to halt housing projects, foil their neighbors' housing remodels and stall emergency transit projects — that one call compelled a visit from a Public Works inspector.
And soon, Meyers' adorable little library had a notice affixed to it with bright blue tape giving her two choices: Remove the bench and the library or pay $1,402 for a "minor encroachment permit."
Meyers' neighbors have offered to create a GoFundMe to raise the $1,402 for a permit, but she doesn't want to go that route. The 79-year-old therapist and her husband, a retired lawyer, could pay the fee, but why should they?
Public Works says the couple doesn't have to pay the fee for now while the department develops a new program to make it easier to add benches, free libraries and other neighborhood amenities, but the details of that proposal aren't yet clear.