Owners of LGBTQ+ Free Library Say Their Stolen Books Have Been Returned

Petrie and Katie Cohen built their Little Queer Library in 2020

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The owners of an LGBTQ-friendly little free library in Waltham, Massachusetts, who have been the victims of three thefts in less than a month, say some of their books have been returned.

Petrie and Katie Cohen built The Little Queer Library in 2020 and placed it on the lawn of their home. But in recent weeks, someone has been stealing books with LGBTQ+ themes.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the couple said a Waltham police detective returned a bag full of some of the stolen books. He told them the person who took them has been identified, and police have spoken with them.

The thefts had been captured on surveillance footage. Police are still investigating, and the couple said they won't be offering more details about the suspect right now.

"I would like to extend kindness and understanding to the person in question, even if it was not extended to us. I urge you to please be kind to this person, in the comments and in real life. We don't know his story, and he has done the right thing in returning the books," they wrote.

For the third time in less than a month, someone was caught on video Sunday morning stealing LGBTQ+ books from The Little Queer Library in Waltham.

In a previous interview, the couple said they believe their library was targeted because it was LGBTQ-friendly. News of the thefts set off a chain of donations of new books as well as money. As of Tuesday, they had raised almost $7,000 - money they will use to support other Queer, LGBT+ and diversity-focused libraries across the country, as well as to buy more queer books for school libraries or where else they are needed.

"I never thought our little library would ever have these types of resources, and I am so humbled by how many people want to help us!" the Facebook post reads.

The library, the couple said, is intended to lift those who need it most.

"LGBT kids have a high rate of suicide attempts and mental health problems in general," Cohen said.

In addition to their front yard flag, front door and window signage, the books are their way of showing support.

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