Chicago/ Parks & Nature
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Published on February 14, 2024
Oak Park Community on Edge as Serial Vandal Targets Little Free LibrariesSource: Facebook/Columbian Avenue Oak Park Little Free Library

Oak Park, a tranquil suburb of Chicago, has been shaken by a spate of vandalism targeting a beloved community staple: the Little Free Library. Over just two days, four of these book-sharing boxes have been viciously cut down, leaving residents baffled and authorities on the hunt for a book-hating bandit.

According to NBC Chicago, outdoor Little Free Libraries at the 500 and 600 blocks of N. Lombard, the 600 block of N. Elmwood, and the 200 block of N. Cuylers were found severed from their anchoring posts; this literary larceny has spurred the Oak Park police into action as they scramble to collect evidence and nab the offender. The Little Free Library organization, boasting over 175,000 book exchange boxes globally with dozens peppered around Chicago, has been left reeling by the attacks, but the cops have zeroed in on a female suspect as the potential free-library fiend.

Residents of these areas are accustomed to the charming sight of miniature houses brimming with books, an invitation to literary discovery and community sharing, now replaced by jagged stumps and space. It's being sliced out of the community's heart, and the culprit remains at large, with an air of mystery surrounding the motives behind such an attack on public literacy.

Adding to the coverage, WBBM Newsradio reported the events as a clear indication that someone in Oak Park has a vendetta against the free exchange of literature, given the targeted vandalism. Police concur that the incidents are connected; they're piecing together clues with the confident assertion that they have a good lead on who might be behind the senseless destruction of these communal book hubs.

As this story unfolds, Oak Park officials and police are urging the public to come forward with any insights that could help bring this story to a close, ensuring that the neighborhood's Little Free Libraries can continue to facilitate the joy of reading without fear of further attacks. The investigation continues, and the community holds its breath, hoping for a swift resolution to the mystery marring their streets.