Little Free Library in San Francisco threatened after an anonymous complaint

Originally published at: Little Free Library in San Francisco threatened after an anonymous complaint | Boing Boing


There’s always going to be at least one NIMBY in a SF neighbourhood who can’t stand to see others enjoying life. The municipal government is always willing to prioritise their whinging.


Both actively AND proactively?


… also reactively, refractively, extractively, detractively, retroactively, and unattractively :crazy_face:


Confused GIF
Someone could benefit from
A Little Free Comic Book Library.




This ↑ will make us all feel better.




It’s a library they’re putting a stop to, so also… redactively.


If you would like to leave something in the sidewalk, you absolutely should need a permit to do so—even if the thing is a nice thing that members of the community tend to enjoy.

The point of a permit process is to make sure the thing is safe and doesn’t impede accessibility (and to provide some compensation to the public if the use is private).

They’re going to fix the excessive permit fee that doesn’t make sense for this use, so what’s the trouble?

I want to live in a place where people need permits to put shit in the sidewalk. Even delightful shit.

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I would argue that the permit violates freedom of speech. “Books are protected speech” is all but unassailable. If the structure is a) on private property, and b) not any form of dwelling or public space, the city would have to have a compelling and specific reason to infringe on it.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve done street performance in over a dozen states, so I’ve studied those particular laws pretty extensively.


I was searching for more information, all the articles are using a Wall Street Journal story as their source, even Fox News.

But Fox News felt the need to add this to the story.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is also drawing national attention for its unanimous vote to consider up to [$5 million in reparations]

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In this specific instance it is not located on private property. It doesn’t take up a huge space on the sidewalk or appear to be a major obstacle for folks in wheelchairs or whatever, but it is on the public sidewalk.


Given that the video clearly shows this is on the sidewalk and not on private property, your argument falls over on the first point.

If they want to put it on the sidewalk then I think a permit should be required, but $1400 is ridiculous for a small community asset like this. Also given the location, between a bench and their steps, this is shouldn’t be considered a sidewalk hazard since it is in a gap that is otherwise unusable.

If they had cut their railing and put the library on their own property, I would have hoped that there would have been no issue there. Perhaps that is something to consider.

The bench is part of the library.

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in that case, it should need a permit. That doesn’t mean it needs to be removed, but that does need to ensure that it is safe for all users of the sidewalk.


I just think it’s a bit sad that such a small, joyous addition to the public realm should be struck down by an anonymous complaint.


I have some difficulty with the San Francisco Chronicle’s text here.

I mean I have no idea what the City’s attitude to open-air fentanyl markets, etc. is but

sounds to me remarkably like “mostly shrugs at”.

Don’t know the laws in San Francisco but when a neighbour here put a bench onto an empty lot on the corner beside their building (that they owned) they were told they needed insurance because they became liable for injuries by encouraging people to enter their private property. The insurance was much higher than that permit fee above. The bench (and flower boxes) had to be removed.

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I’m curious: who told them that they needed insurance for that? I’m not aware of Insurance being legally required by the government for most private property owners, even if it’s generally a good idea to have it.