Riley Schutz is the brains behind what he hopes will be a bustling home business.
Not bad for a nine-year-old. Starting this weekend, the pint-sized entrepreneur/philanthropist will be running a library out of his family home's two-car garage.
The avid reader, who will enter Grade 5 at Meadowridge School in the fall, has more than 100 books and a few comics for rent. Customers pay $2 or $3 for each of the books, and can borrow them for as long as they like, so long as they return them at some point.
Rare books or ones with more value will have a $5 price tag for readers to take out of the library.
"I just like to read and I want to keep the library organized," Riley said.
Using his iPad, Riley has created an inventory of his collection.
He says he has 10 "team members" (i.e. neighbourhood kids) helping him out this summer.
The library, at 13361 Balsam St., will be open to the public every second weekend, starting this Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22.
It opens Saturday with the grand opening scheduled for Sunday.
The July 22 grand opening celebration includes a ribbon cutting, a speech by Riley, and chips, cookies, and juice boxes.
The official ceremony kicks off at 11 a.m.
Hours will be posted at the grand opening.
Donated books are always welcome and can be dropped off at the library during its weekend business hours.
"Almost all my [team members] have donated at least one book," Riley said.
Most weekdays, his mom Chantal explained, Riley and his team members will be "working" in the library all day, "in between playing other games around the 'hood."
Riley's younger sister Emily, seven, is helping him run the library.
Emily, who has epilepsy, inspired Riley to donate part of the proceeds from the business to a place that's close to the Schutz family members' hearts.
"For- Children's Hospital, every dollar from each book will be donated to charity," he said.
Riley chose BC Children's Hospital because Emily goes there.
"He originally wanted to start his own charity that would buy books for parents who can't afford them for their kids, but I encouraged him to do some research about starting a charity, and he discovered it was very hard," Chantal said.
Riley's started the library in a shed in his backyard about a year ago, but needed more space so he moved it into the garage.
Chantal doesn't get to park her car in the garage, anymore.
The inspiration behind this venture: Riley's nana's cat, Itty Bitty Kitty.
"She found [Itty Bitty Kitty]
Don't miss today's Healthwise section, starting on page A13 on the side of the road, so we decided to write books about her," explained Riley, the books' illustrator. "And then I decided I wanted to do a library with them."
Riley and his nana have completed two books so far and plan on writing 10 in total. They
started writing books about the cat three years ago.
Looking ahead to this weekend, Chantal said Riley has been very
keen on this library idea for a long time.
"He holds weekly meetings with his team members to go over what is going on in the library," she said. "They each have primary roles and are trained in back-up roles."
Riley has even created Excel spreadsheets for the schedule and a PowerPoint presentation about the library.
"He has done this 95 per cent on his own," Chantal said. "His dad and I try and remain fairly hands off, just pointing him in the direction appropriate."
Riley helped create a commercial about the library, and he and his fellow team members put it on YouTube.
"They created the song and the music and they all worked together to choreograph the dance," Chantal said.
You can check out the commercial out by typing in "The Magic Library of 'Aldo's' Books" on YouTube's search engine.
The library is just a summer gig for Riley.
He wants to be a police officer one day.