Readers React

More communities could use curbside libraries

To the editor: I was surprised to read Steve Lopez's column about the difficulties surrounding the curbside library. ("Actor's curbside library is a smash -- for most people," Feb. 3)

In Studio City, we've had these mini-libraries for about a year, on homeowners' properties facing the sidewalk. They are situated every few blocks, and there is a constant turnover of books. I've found "just the book I'm looking for" several times.

When I donate a book, I follow the lead of a donor who put a Post-it note inside a brilliant book of essays edited by Ira Glass, wishing the new reader the enjoyment he or she had reading it.

I wonder why West L.A. has a problem with this. Perhaps the Valley is a bit more progressive.

Ellen Butterfield, Studio City

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To the editor: Although I sympathize with West L.A. resident Peter Cook's well meaning intention, I worry what kind of precedent this may set.

Who is to stop another neighbor from putting up a clothing donation box on public property in front of his or her house? Soon enough, neighborhood streets could start to look like Tobacco Road.

Public property means just that — "public," belonging to the city and not for personal use. We need to not blur this very important distinction.

Peter David Harris, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Applause to Cook, his wife and Steve Lopez. The Cooks are to be commended for building a curbside library, and Lopez, as always, deserves praise for keeping an eye on the inconsistent ways in which Los Angeles and other cities enforce the law.

Although we hope the library survives, there is more than one way to end this story.

Last summer, when my husband and I decided to buy a Little Free Library, we believed we might face the same dilemma. So we placed our library just inside our fence. Like the Cook library, it is at eye level for children and easily accessible to the many pedestrians on our block.

There are several small outdoor libraries on private property in our neighborhood. Thus the interest in reading persists, even in the presence of grinches whose lives are so perfect they must manufacture things to complain about and cities all too willing to give them a hearing while leaving the work of tree trimming and sidewalk repairs a low priority.

Joan Walston, Santa Monica

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