Published on May 4th, 2015 | by Gloria Romano
Building a Lego Club in Your Library
Legos have been a popular toy franchise for many years. Its popularity has stretched beyond a simple building toy. You can find Legos in books, television shows, video games, and movies. With this knowledge, children’s librarians are able to provide their young patrons with a new Lego book series or the recently released made for TV movie. But what can really draw the patrons into your library is a monthly or weekly Lego Club, which will allow children to use Lego pieces to create whatever their heart’s desire.
Many libraries have created a Lego Club for their Children’s Department with great success. One of which is the Elmont Memorial Public Library in Elmont, New York. After researching the benefits of using Legos within the library, Elmont’s children’s librarians have decided to create their own Lego club. First thing first, they needed Legos. They asked the community for donations with flyers posted in the children’s room. After a month of no responses, a patron’s mother who works at a local Lego store brought in a few boxes of spare Lego pieces, including plates to build on. With 2 ½ filled bins of Legos, the library promoted their new program for children between the ages of 4-12 (not too young that they may eat the pieces and old enough to still be in the children’s room). It soon became a big hit with the children and their parents. Each meeting they come into the arts and crafts room and start building and creating anything they wanted (yes, even the parents build with the children from time to time). Usually, a group of children will work together on a project, combining their creations into something imaginative. The club meets once a month on Saturday, from September till May, and weekly during the summer. Each creation is placed on display with the child’s name, their age, and the title of their creation. Children have created many projects from houses, to cars, to spaceships, to anything else they can think of. The sky’s the limit and it is far up there.
Other libraries have found success from hosting their own Lego Clubs. Not all of them follow the same formula as Elmont. There are many options to choose from, such as a free build meeting, creating something centered on a specific theme, using robotic Legos and Technic pieces (tweens and teens may lean towards these sets then children due to their complexity), or including books during a build. A key element that Lego Clubs offer is incorporating STEM programming in the library. Usually these involve using robotic Lego bricks with battery operated controls. But if you do not want to go down this route, using Lego bricks may still incorporate STEM ideas and concepts. A Lego Club offers the aspects of a STEM program by providing children with the tools to create something that is creative but in a building block, engineering manner. Using robotic Legos may be a level up in a Lego STEM program but using the simple Lego bricks is the best way to start.
If you want to start your own Lego Club at your library, it is highly recommended, especially if you have inventive and creative patrons. There are plenty of resources and online articles that you may read to get you started. For more information about the Lego Club at the Elmont Memorial Public Library, check out the children’s department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/elmontlibrarychildrens and their homepage at http://www.elmontlibrary.org/index.php/children. Librarians have taken to the internet to explain how they created their own Lego Club, as well as providing the process in doing so. Here are a few articles to start with:
-“Block Party: Legos in the Library” by Abbe Klebanoff
-“Guest Blog: How to Start a LEGO Club in Your Library” by Amy Koester
Let’s not forget the children. Ask them if they want the library to have a Lego Club. Experiment on some ideas. Do they want instructions to follow or just an hour to free build? Do their older siblings have Legos they want to donate? Having a Lego Club is an inexpensive, easy program to create with many options to choose from. Children will not only learn about creativity and working together but they will have a lot of fun creating and inventing whatever they want. All it takes is just connecting one brick to another and another and another.