July 30, 2018

Little Free Libraries in Lincoln, Nebraska fight back against Nazi bullshit

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Little Free Libraries, those wonderful mini-structures that operate on a “take-a-book, leave-a-book” honor system, are places to share books, opportunities to pass along stories and knowledge. Unfortunately, last week in Lincoln, Nebraska, a number of Little Free Libraries were found stuffed with Neo-Nazi propaganda.

According to a report in the Lincoln Journal Star, Nazi literature was discovered in seventeen different libraries. Bob DiPaolo, a steward of the libraries, spoke to the paper. The book You and Your Folk was removed from the libraries upon discovery. This is not the first time Nebraska has encountered this problem — in May, nearby Omaha faced the same problem.

But the Little Free Libraries are not standing for this attempt to spread hateful and dangerous rhetoric. The books were immediately removed–something Amazon still can’t seem to figure out how to do–and community members responded by posting signs at the libraries with a message of love and acceptance. In a follow-up to the original story, Margaret Reist writes that some library steward made signs that say, “Hate has no home here” and “Everyone is equal.”  Jodi Nelson, one of the first in the neighborhood to get involved with the Little Free Libraries, has pledged to check the library more often — and to add some new books too: “Maybe Anne Frank’s Diary or Mary Pipher’s stories of refugees titled The Middle of Everywhere, she said, to remind people what Little Free Libraries are about.”

The Little Free Libraries are receiving support from local businesses, as well. Goldenrod Printing is donating bookmarks and more signs that will feature inclusive messaging, and local bookstore Indigo Bridge Books is donating signs as well.

Despite the attempt to breed hatred, the Neo-Nazis trying to push this propaganda seem to have inspired an effort to spread acceptance and love in Lincoln instead.

Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.

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