Someone is emptying little free libraries in Edina

By design, little free libraries are neighborhood book exchanges where readers can take books. But someone in Edina is taking that concept a little too literally and leaving no books behind for other families.

At least three homeowners told FOX 9 their little free libraries have been completely cleared out in recent weeks.

Mary Nelson and her husband have proudly displayed their little free library in their yard for ten years. It was built by their son.

"It’s just been hugely successful," she said. "People like the idea. They like to support it, and they have."

But a few weeks ago, her grandson looked inside, only to discover that someone had emptied it.

"I was just so surprised because I would think that people would understand the spirit behind what this project is," Nelson said.

Across the city, a different library has a similar story. 

When Jill Kacheroski bought her home a year ago, she was excited that it had a little free library in the yard.

"I love the concept," Kacheroski said. "We have a book club in the neighborhood. I put the book club books in when I'm done, and people get to read them."

But her neighbor discovered Kacheroski’s library had been emptied. So she refilled it, only to have it happen again.

"I heard ruckus out front at night, and someone had stolen all the books," she said. "It stinks. It’s fine if they want to read the books. That's what they're for. It's for people to take and use."

Nelson said in the meantime, she's using her library as a pantry, and that’s been successful.

But these homeowners hope whoever is doing this will understand the true spirit behind these book exchanges.

"Hopefully they’ll stop and get bored, and move on to doing something else," Kacheroski said.

Other people have reported finding books in people's yards or by fire hydrants.

They believe a group of teens is taking the books, but they’re crossing their fingers that they’re actually being taken by someone who really needed a book to read and couldn't pick just one.