A Little Free Library in German Village might not conform with the neighborhood's architectural standards.

A Little Free Library in German Village might not conform with the neighborhood's architectural standards.

The small book repository, which has been installed in the 600 block of City Park Avenue, would require a certificate of appropriateness from the German Village Commission.

It appears to the only one in the neighborhood.

The owner of the house in front of which the Little Library is located couldn't be reached for comment.

As its name suggests, the free-book exchanges allow passersby to "borrow" or leave a tome at no charge.

The nonprofit program, part of worldwide movement, was founded in 2009 in Hudson, Wisc., where it is currently based.

The book boxes -- often said to resemble bird feeders -- are small, usually decorated and set on a post.

No registration is necessary to be a patron of a Little Library. It works on the honor system.

The German Village Commission has authority over landscaping, windows, new construction and related exterior alterations to properties.

Small items, such as shrubbery and "softscaping," can be approved by the Columbus Historic Preservation office as a staff approval, said Sarah Marsom, historic preservation advocate for the German Village Society.

Little Free Libraries would fall into the same categories of items such as fountains, bike racks and new patios or other "hardscaping" which require approval from the German Village Commission, Marsom said.

She said she doubts the libraries would take away from the historic nature from the neighborhood.

"Little Free Libraries are wonderful additions to the neighborhood's cultural vibrancy," Marsom said.

"By having a Little Free Library go through the German Village Commission, a property owner can also ensure the library is adding to the architectural charm of the neighborhood," she said.

Jay Panzer, chairman of the German Village Commission, the local architectural review board, declined to comment about the Little Library because it isn't something that has come before the commission.

Another Little Free Library has been located in the city right of way in the 300 block of Sycamore Street, just east of and Briggs Street, for a couple of years.

It is located in Schumacher Place, just east of German Village, and not within the jurisdiction of the German Village Commission.

But, apparently, the city might have an issue with that library as well.

Melanie Crabill, a spokeswoman for the Columbus Public Service Department, said anything permanently built in the right of way requires a permit, costing about $500.

Nelson Crandall said he built various Little Libraries -- some didn't withstand the elements -- for his wife, Sally Crandall, a retired librarian and reading enthusiast.

Mr. Crandall said he thinks "it's a good deal" for the community of readers.

"I didn't know how it would turn out," he said.