Hesston’s tool library may be copied in other towns

Trevor and Taylor Baldauf created a tool library this past summer that is part of Hesston Public Library. Pictured, front row from left, are Andy Gamble, Jacob Ellsworth, Nathan Baldauf, Ian Belnap and Maynard Herron; back row, Trevor Baldauf, Jeff Baldauf and Tyler Baldauf.

By Blake Spurney

HESSTON – Eagle Scouts Trevor and Tyler Baldauf may have created a legacy with their tool library in Hesston now that other scouts are considering them for their own communities.

“Other people are inspired by it whether they could have that wheel turned as something they could do for their town,” said Adam Markel, Pawnee District executive for the Quivira Council of Boy Scouts of America.

The Baldaufs said they got the idea from former Hesston Public Library Director Melissa Carlson. They talked to her about another project and decided it wouldn’t work. Carlson then pitched the idea for a tool library, which they completed this past summer.

“She had seen a couple on the internet and she thought that would be cool to do,” Tyler said.

Tyler designed the interior of the sturdy built shed, and he and Trevor went around town soliciting donations of money and tools from businesses and individuals.

“We got quite a few tools,” Trevor said. “It wasn’t a low amount. We got quite a few from businesses and some private donors.”

The Baldaufs also applied for various grants. The project received $2,000 from the Hesston Community Foundation and $500 from the Hesston library board and South Central Kansas Library System. Trevor said he purchased about $400 worth of tools and the rest of the inventory was filled with donations. The tool library has common hand tools and a stepladder. Other items include a wheelbarrow, a dryer vent cleaner and work lights.

Borrowers simply check out a tool like they would a book or movie. A library staffer will retrieve an item from the locked shed and scan it into the system. Tyler said he specifically designed the shed to prevent theft. The door is under a light, and he replaced hinges with carriage bolts and locknuts, which only can be removed from the inside.

Even after achieving the highest honor in Boy Scouts, Trevor and Tyler said they planned on staying in the program until they turn 18 because it taught good morals. They also want to serve as mentors to younger Scouts. Their older brothers, Zachary and Nathan, also earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

“So, we kind of had shoes to fill,” Tyler said.

Completing a project also provided the Baldaufs a lesson about dedication.

“You have to make a commitment and stick with it through thick and thin,” Tyler said.

“It takes will power,” Trevor said.

Trevor said he periodically checked with his mother, Gina, who works at the library, to see how much the tools are being used. Reports are that they’re being checked out fairly often. The brothers said the fact that other scouts were considering doing a similar thing made them feel good about what they did.

“It’s sort of flattering because it tells us we did a good job on it good enough of a job to make people want to copy it,” Tyler said.

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