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Woman forced to take down free library on front lawn

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Free, little libraries have been popping up on front lawns during the COVID pandemic with public libraries closed, but for one woman in Oradell, she was told to take it down.

Video Transcript


- Well, a big fight over a little library in Oradell, New Jersey may be headed for a rather unhappy ending. A woman set up a free library with books for kids and adults in front of her home back in October. Well it turns out her act of kindness may have to go. Michelle Charlesworth explains.

TINA MUSICH: People love it.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: People liked the Little Free Library that was on Tina Musich's lawn until somebody complained and the building inspector dropped off a notice.

TINA MUSICH: The box violated a zoning law in our town and I called. It was about structures in the front lawn.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: Wait, what about this? Why is this OK? And anyway, the law love the library.

TINA MUSICH: We've had a police officer come by. He dropped off a bunch of books.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: Neighbors thought it was adorable, that little library.

LORRAINE BROSNAHAN: And I thought it was a great idea.

LAUREN AIMI: Put it back. It's a good thing for the town.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: Right now, it's out of the ground and has been in the garage. The books are in a bin on the porch because that is allowed. Everything from adult thrillers to Winnie the Pooh.

Speaking of children's books, remember Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends," the children's classic? Well, look at this. This is where the sidewalk ends. It's literally six feet away from where the little library was standing right in front of their house. Go figure.

TINA MUSICH: We kind of liked having the library here because it made it seem less weird to have a sidewalk that goes nowhere.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: So funny. But people want that library back.

LORRAINE BROSNAHAN: I think that that's overkill. You know, I don't think that's necessary at all. It was a way for new neighbors to get acquainted with other people.

LAUREN AIMI: If there's something with the zoning laws then, you know, maybe it's time to revisit them.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: The mayor called us to say she too hopes a compromise or code change can happen. She just found out about this. Welcome news for everyone who's pulling for the books.

LAUREN AIMI: Yes, you agree.


TINA MUSICH: Spring is coming so we know that we're going to get a lot more people who want to use it.

MICHELLE CHARLESWORTH: And so hopes are high for this page turner in New Jersey.