Town forces family to take down ‘mailbox library’
A Point Pleasant Borough family says that it was forced to take down its “mailbox library” after complaints from a neighbor.
Miniature libraries have popped up along streets all over the country. At last count there were 72,972 of them nationwide. People are welcome to take books or leave some of their own for all to read.
But when Peter and Grace Hagemeyer put one up on their property, they were soon forced to take it back down.
“We had a grand opening on [July] 29. The 29th is when we had a visit from the police,” says Grace.
The Hagemeyers says that they were contacted by Borough Code Enforcement officers the next day.
“Because libraries are not explicitly mentioned in the land-use ordinance, they're not allowed,” Peter says.
The Hagemeyers had 10 days to take the structure down off their property.
“It just seems really close-minded to us. We have neighbors who walk up and down the street and look at books. That add books. Kids come up and pick up books. It seems like a positive neighborhood environment thing,” says Peter.
But borough officials say that their hands were tied because someone filed a formal complaint.
“No matter how benign or serious an issue is, if a formal complaint goes in to the police department, they have to act on it,” says Point Pleasant Borough administrator Frank Pannucci Jr. “Because of where it’s located, it is against the ordinance. So they got a violation notice to remove it.”
News 12 New Jersey spoke with many of the Hagemeyers’ neighbors – none would admit to being the neighbor who called in a complaint.
A list to find the nearest “mailbox library” is at Littlefreelibrary.org.