The complications that come with Little Free Libraries tend to be minimal. Dallas City Council expressed concern that they might become havens for pornography, a concern rebutted by the point that the owners of the libraries’ collections tend to be curated by the residents on a daily basis—if someone leaves smut in the box, it’s not going to be there long. In Austin, meanwhile, a rash of robberies hit a few Little Free Libraries earlier this summer, which Austin police declined to pursue because the libraries have the word “free” in the name. (Dallas-based Half Price Books refuses to buy books stamped with the organization’s “always a gift; never for sale” slogan, so library owners can remove the incentive for theft in that way.)
There’s still time for the Dallas City Council to walk back the vote, according to Wilonsky. The regulation that passed out of the committee has yet to be voted on by the full council, so Dallas can decide if it’s really a problem to tackle with such urgency.