Christian mini library removed from Ill. highway (April 2024)

The Illinois Department of Transportation removed a Christian Little Free Library that was unlawfully placed on government property after the Freedom From Religion Foundation alerted it.

A concerned community member informed the state/church watchdog of a religious “Little Free Library” at the intersection of Old Route 66 and Livingston County East. A Little Free Library is essentially a small kiosk filled with books where community members can take and leave a book for free. This library, however, was stocked entirely with Christian books, and there was a Latin cross painted on the side of the library. The Illinois Department of Transportation manages the right-of-way to that strip of land. Therefore, the library could easily have been perceived as being owned and controlled by the Illinois government.

FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Legal Fellow Samantha Lawrence wrote to the Illinois Department of Transportation and asked the Illinois Department of Transportation to investigate the situation.

FFRF’s letter moved the Illinois Department of Transportation to take action.

“The Illinois Department of Transportation has not posted or has no record of a permit issued to install this small kiosk within the state-maintained highway rights-of-way in that location,” a department official recently responded. “Last week, our local IDOT field maintenance yard crew inspected the area and removed the ‘Little Free Library’ kiosk in accordance with our policy regarding signs, billboards or advertising on IDOT property and Illinois highways right-of-way.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation