We would all love to live near a Little Free Library — and if you live in Tempe, you're therefore in luck. This This Arizona city will give Little Free Library operators tax rebates, making it only the second city in the United States to do so. So basically, we should all be writing to our city counsels asking them to implement the same policy.
Little Free Libraries come in many forms, but most are quite simple: A box of books that people can take, borrow, return, or donate to whenever they want, no questions asked. They promote reading and a sense of community, and they're also just really nice to have around. They've become more popular in recent years, and now, some cities are even taking steps to actively promote them — including this new tax rebate in Tempe.
The truly remarkable fact about this new ordinance, which Tempe adopted earlier this month, is that it not only is one of the first of its kind in the country, it also ended a city-wide prohibition against Little Free Libraries in the first place. Although the city has not enforced the code banning these biblio-boxes, they were technically not allowed due to city zoning rules until this month, reports AZCentral.
And now the people who run Little Free Libraries have a tax rebate of up to $300 coming their way.
According to the Little Free Library national organization (yes, there is a national organization, and how cool is that?), there has hitherto been only one city in the United States that has offered financial incentives to residents who want to start up such a library: West Hollywood in California, which offers grants to residents in order to help them get started.
So far, Tempe has budgeted up to about $10,000 for their new tax rebate program, enough to support 30 or 40 boxes in the city. And considering that the city, which has over 150,000 residents, only has one library branch, those extra boxes will probably be greatly appreciated — though nothing really replaces a fully staffed library.
Still, Little Free Libraries can promote a lot of good. As Tempe Councilman Kolby Granville, who helped secure the new policy, explained to AZCentral, “It really is the perfect grouping of things that cities tend to care about. It’s literacy, it's recycling and it’s building community. ... You’re likely to bump into and talk to neighbors if you have books available on your front lawn."
So if you're a Tempe resident already hosting one of these, congratulations! And may that extra $300 fuel your reading for many days to come.