Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chicago Parks District Stops Free Book Program

I completely understand the need for rules and regulations, but one thing that really gets me hot and bothered is when policies are run so cut and dry, word for word, that they're no longer executed with the original intent. This is a prime example.

Rightfully so, Chicago Parks requires permits for businesses and solicitors to distribute material within the parks. Without such a requirement, we'd all be ambushed by flyers, causes and scams with each visit. However, the Park's latest enforcement seems contradictory to the common good.

Apparently, this guy custom built a bike to house a selection of free books. He regularly parks his bike in public places, takes a seat next to the bike and reads a book, all while offering his bike's contents to the public. For free. No strings. As many as you'd like. All in an effort to promote literacy.

Here's a guy, on his own, not selling anything or making a profit or promoting a brand, just bringing along some books to the park and offering them for free. After two years at this cause, the city just recently asked him to pack up and leave the park. In fact, if he wants to give away books again he must have a permit with a $1,155 hourly fee that requires he submit a separate application a couple months in advance for each date and location he intends to set up his Book Bike.

I could understand if he's distributing racy content to minors or promoting causes or pestering people, but no complaints (that I know of) have been reported. Seems like the city's just "giving the business" to a good guy who's attempting to better the city. Seems like poor application of an otherwise necessary policy. FAIL Chicago.

Please visit the Chicagoist's article HERE for more information.

Gr. Arg.

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