West Plaza woman’s literary labor of love dashed when thieves make off with Little Free Library

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Love's labours lost. A woman's efforts to share her love of books were permanently checked out when thieves made off with her Little Free Library.

Nichole Lingenfelter never thought she’d have to deal with something like this.

“I had this special light that when you opened it a night, it would go off and you could see the books at night,” she said.

Specially decked out, this Little Free Library is one she created with her daughter for their West Plaza neighborhood.

The Little Free Library program aims "to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations," the program's website says. "There are nearly 40,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world, bringing curbside literacy home and sharing millions of books annually."

The Kansas City metro has over forty Little Free Library locations, but after this week, there is one less.

“Unfortunately if you looked very closely, it was crooked. Why would anyone want to steal it? You can’t sell it,” Lingenfelter said.

The book exchange was installed six months ago. She said someone snagged it Monday afternoon.

Jim Lowry has lived down the street for half a century and was surprised by the theft.

“I can’t describe how low that is. Almost sub-human, let’s put it that way,” he said.

Lingenfelter wanted to share her love for books with her neighborhood. She started collecting paperbacks -- some were bought, others were given. Her whole family pitched in to make this dream a reality.

“My husband helped me when I just couldn’t get it straight, my daughter painted it. We all worked together on the design,” she said.

In its place, she left a sign in the hopes that the thieves will come forward and return the Little Free Library.

She said her family has encouraged her to create another one in case this one isn’t returned.

You can locate a Little Free Library near you at the website's interactive map.