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'Somebody is on a rampage.' Several free little libraries around Nashville mysteriously emptied

free little libraries
Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 19, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several little libraries were mysteriously emptied out across Nashville over the last few days. Now, some residents are concerned the popular neighborhood resources are being targeted — and not by readers.

"Somebody is on a rampage and they need some books," said Rae Ryan.

Ryan's family made a little a Little Free Library last year. It is registered online with many others. By doing so, anyone can locate where it is. Unfortunately, so can people who want to take advantage of the system.

"If it was just mine, I may not think anything of it, but because I saw this rash of little libraries being cleared out across Nashville, you know it's something more vindictive," said Rae Ryan, whose family made a homemade library for neighbors in Sylvan Park because they loved the concept. "When you travel you know if you want a book and you don't want to lug your books on a plane or you don't have a kindle you can find a neighborhood library wherever you're at."

Last week, someone tracked down Ryan's library and took every book in it — except one.

"The book of common prayer was the one thing left in the library when we came home Thursday night," Ryan said.

In addition to Ryan's, other little libraries, including in Antioch and Oak Hill, were recently hit and cleared.

Ryan guesses someone is taking the texts to used book stores.

"Whether they're looking to make money or some kind of teenage angst, like wanting to get rid of books," she explained.

It's just a shame, she says. She thought the pandemic had made people more neighborly.

"People were really kinda turning a corner and just being good and doing good things for the sake of doing good things," Ryan said. "Just to see this, it kinda hurts your heart a little bit."

Because the books are free by nature, Metro Police said there is no crime for taking one. But if you catch someone taking everything or your library is vandalized, you could call and speak to a police officer.