Bloomington Police Department has found itself in the spotlight after it tweeted a picture showing an officer replenishing a Little Free Library after "thefts" of books from some in the city.
The tweet, posted on Friday, sparked hundreds of responses, most of which point out that the whole idea behind Little Free Libraries is that the books are free, calling into question the notion of "thefts."
"After some thefts from little libraries in our city, officers and staff came together to donate a bunch of books to the libraries. Now people can use and enjoy them again!" the tweet said.
By 3 p.m. Friday there had been more than 1,200 "quote tweets" of the tweet, attracting attention from national commentators and accounts with large followings.
It prompted the department to post a clarifying tweet a short time after, in which it alleged that someone has been taking all the books from the libraries, rather than just taking one or two.
"An individual was taking every book from the libraries," the follow-up tweet said. "It is common that they are then sold for a profit which is not the intent for the libraries."
This explanation, too, was met with skepticism by many Twitter users.
Bloomington PD later re-clarified the situation with another tweet, saying it regrets using the word "theft" in its original statement.
The Little Free Library movement got its start in Hudson, Wisconsin, in 2009, when Todd Bol, 59, placed a model of a one-room schoolhouse filled with books in his front yard with a sign that read "free books."