By Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – The people who set up a “Little Free Library” in front of their homes in Jamaica Plain say someone is ripping it off, perhaps for profit.

While it’s true the books are free for the taking, making money is not in keeping with the spirit of the little libraries.

“It’s supposed to be a community effort where you take books, you bring books,” says Antonia Rudenstine.

She and some friends set up the mini library in a box in JP.

libtheft Books Stolen From Little Free Library In Jamaica Plain

Little Free Library in Jamaica Plain (WBZ-TV)

“Nobody’s monitoring it. It’s just supposed to be a resource for the community,” she says.

But over the last few months, things have changed. “We would stock it or somebody would stock it, and we would find by the next day all the books were gone,” she says.

That happened again and again. The library had never been that busy in the three years it’s been operating. Then someone spotted a guy.

“Richard came out one day, saw him emptying it out and came and said, what are you doing. You can’t do this,” says Antonia.

library Books Stolen From Little Free Library In Jamaica Plain

Little Free Library in Jamaica Plain (WBZ-TV)

They were concerned this alleged book lover was selling the books. And the warning didn’t work.

“I think he just said, well the books are here for everybody,” says Antonia.

You’ve probably seen the Little Free Libraries. There are several hundred in the state and half a dozen in Jamaica Plain. So what to do?

At the library being emptied, they put up a note telling everyone what was happening. For the last week and a half, no problem.

“If for him to feel like he’s hurting the community or the community was paying more attention, and that was enough to back off, then that’s great,” Antonia says.

The people who set up the library say it would be fine if this man really needed the money, but they aren’t convinced that’s the case.


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