11-year-old builds lending library for a chance to share

Taylor Butler, 11, with the lending library she placed on Olympic Street in Castaic, 051321. Dan Watson/The Signal
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As a way to give back to her community, 11-year-old Taylor Butler built a lending library, where people can leave and take books for free. 

“It was hard to come up with things that kept (kids) interested during COVID, and she kept having good ideas,” her mother Tammy Butler said, adding that one of those ideas was the library. “So we were like, ‘Let’s do this for the community to have something special.’”  

Taylor Butler, 11, collected scrap wood to build the lending library she placed on Olympic Street in Castaic. Courtesy

Taylor’s an avid reader and big Harry Potter fan, so the thought of creating a free library sounded like the perfect addition to her Castaic community. 

With county and city libraries closed to the public, the lending library would allow people to keep their minds occupied during the pandemic and escape into the world of books, the Butlers thought.  

So, Taylor soon got to work, collecting scrap wood to create the box, then building it and decorating it to look like a barn. 

Taylor Butler, 11, digs the hole for her lending library. She said digging the hole was the hardest part of the project because the ground was so hard. Courtesy

Next came choosing the perfect location. Because they live on a cul-de-sac, the Butlers decided to put the library next to the community mailbox a street over to ensure it would get more traffic.  

To do so, Taylor had to knock on her neighbor’s door to ask if they’d allow her to place the library next to the mailbox on their property, getting the OK to proceed. 

“They even marked the sprinklers for us so we didn’t hit them,” Tammy said. 

Taylor Butler, 11, installs the post for the lending library, ensuring it’s level, on Olympic Street in Castaic. Courtesy

Then the hard work began, as Taylor began to dig the hole for the library’s post in the hard ground, which she said was the hardest part. 

“She was coming out here with a pitcher of water every day, pouring it in the hole, then coming back,” Tammy added, chuckling. 

The project took about a month and a half to complete, and was worth the hard work, Taylor said. 

Taylor Butler, 11, places books in her lending library, which she painted to look like a barn and included a chalkboard for visitors to leave messages in Castaic, 051321. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It was actually an art project that turned out good,” she added. 

Since the library was put up a few weeks ago, Taylor has received a number of positive comments from passersby, some of whom have even left notes on the chalkboard she included within. 

Tammy hopes the project encourages her kids to give, rather than expect, and make their ideas a reality.

Taylor Butler, 11, with her “lending library” she placed on Olympic Street in Castaic, 051321. Dan Watson/The Signal

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