Mundelein mulling zoning rules to allow Little Free Libraries

Updated 9/9/2014 2:01 PM
  • Little Free Libraries, like this one in St. Charles, could soon be allowed in Mundelein.

    Little Free Libraries, like this one in St. Charles, could soon be allowed in Mundelein. Courtesy of Congregational UCC

Prompted by a resident's inquiry, Mundelein officials may change the town's zoning codes to allow people to place small lending libraries on their front lawns.

Commonly called Little Free Libraries after the nonprofit organization that launched the hobby, the boxes can be found on front lawns and in parks in Cary, Elgin, Naperville and other suburbs.

The weather-resistant containers can look like houses, animals or any other object that can hold books.

Mundelein's zoning regulations don't include rules for Little Free Libraries, however, which means they're not allowed.

Officials want to change that.

"I think it's an intriguing idea that could be a real community builder," Mayor Steve Lentz told the Daily Herald on Tuesday.

A resident who wants to install a Little Free Library got officials thinking about the issue, Lentz said.

That led to proposed zoning rules. In part, the boxes would be restricted to front yards or to the corners of side yards.

Additionally, the boxes and their posts would have to be less than 6 feet tall and placed at least one foot from a sidewalk, among other rules.

Trustees were expected to vote on the proposal Monday, but they delayed a decision so they could first read a staff report about the subject, Lentz said.

The vote now is set for Sept. 22. Lentz is optimistic.

"I hope we have lots of them in Mundelein," he said. "I hope it really takes off."

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