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Local Sidewalk Library Open For Community
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Reading enthusiast Michael Boyle stands by the wood frame sidewalk lending library he constructed outside his home on Yosemite Avenue, with local residents urged to come take book, leave a book and enjoy some time reading. Marg Jackson/The Times

A love of reading – and more books than he can comfortably fit in his home – prompted Michael Boyle of Escalon to take some action.

That translated into the building of a mini sidewalk library, a small wooden box filled with roughly 16 to 18 paperback books, ranging from adventure and espionage to romance and even a children’s book.

Placed curbside outside his home in the 2300 block of Yosemite, near the corner of Yosemite and Elizabeth, the new ‘lending’ library is open to anyone interested.

“I hope everyone in the community comes to enjoy it,” Boyle said. “The idea is to give a book, take a book.”

The library works on that premise, readers are asked to bring a book to place in the box when they take one out. If they don’t have a book to donate or loan, they can still borrow from the library. Books can be returned for others to enjoy once the borrower is done reading.

Boyle said everyone is welcome and there is no fee, no membership, just people sharing books. Since the ‘library’ has been open, about a half dozen books have been shared, with others brought in to replace the ones borrowed.

“I love to read and I love to collect books,” Boyle explained.

The idea for the sidewalk lending library came from an article he read in Reader’s Digest.

His wife, Marilyn, he added, is happy that some of the books are making their way from the house to the new sidewalk library. The wood frame box took him only a couple of days to construct.

“What took the longest was for the paint to dry,” Boyle said.

Formerly residents of Imperial in Southern California, the Boyles have lived in Escalon for the past few years. Boyle works in Turlock at Advanced Health Technologies, but still finds time for reading and, now, sharing books with his neighbors and the community.

He pointed to reading as one of the most worthwhile activities, since it can be done for pleasure and for gaining knowledge. He listed Clive Cussler, who writes action-adventure stories, many dealing with the ocean, as his favorite author and even admitted to one time reading a phone book because he had nothing else to read.

“You always learn something when you read,” Boyle said. “Always.”