March 15, 2017

Big Trouble in Little Tulsa Library


The Tulsa-area thieves will be recognizable with this name tag

Free, DIY, take-a-book-leave-a-book libraries have been popping up all kinds of places over the last few years. But, as we’ve reported in the past, where there is creativity there too will be jerks.

That rigid, unchanging property of our world has expressed itself once again. Last Friday night in Tulsa, OK, The Mad Hatter Little Free Library–a simple shelf and bench set-up out front of the Starks family’s Midtown Tulsa home, curated by their third-grader son, Joshua—was robbed (by jerks) of over a hundred books, leaving the library empty.

Channel 2 News, Tulsa, interviewed the irrepressible Joshua who explained that the library—which always contains a copy of Alice in Wonderland and the Bible, alongside whatever else is in circulation at a given time—is meant to be a resource for a community that doesn’t have any other Little Free Libraries. (Sidenote: So many communities in this country don’t have any access to bookstores or public libraries.)

Joshua’s mother was home at the time, and saw the thieves take the books and load them into a car. After driving off, in true jerk fashion, they came back to steal the bench.

Luckily, today the library is full again, and Joshua has a renewed sense of purpose for his library and his community.

Maybe another law operates in our world: when one trove of books is lost, another is found. This Law of Conservation of Books seems to be in effect this week, as the First Lady of Missouri, Sheena Greitens, discovered a cache of children’s books in storage at the governor’s mansion.

Greitens had known that a few books might be lying around for her to hand out at next month’s Easter egg hunt, but what she found was about twenty boxes of picture books and other children’s classics. Most of those will be donated to foster care families.

Take that, jerks!



Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.