November 3, 2013

Kids fire up their imaginations in Lego clubs

By Donna Boynton
Telegram & Gazette

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Parker Huggins builds a Lego spaceship during a recent club meeting at the public library in Sutton, Mass. Lego clubs are popping up at libraries and some after-school programs to let kids build together with toys they often play with alone.

The Associated Press/The Telegram & Gazette, Betty Jenewin

“I like to build things and set scenes,” Parker said. “My blocks at home are black, gray and dark green. Here there are different colors and a variety of pieces.”

For libraries, it helps bring new patrons to explore what the library offers, as well as an economical way to enhance programming.

At the Charlton Public Library, the Lego Club started last year at the request of a parent and became so popular it is now offered weekly.

“There are a lot of boys who don’t do sports, but like to build things. This was a good activity for them rather than sitting in front of a computer,” said Molly Garlick, head of youth services at the Charlton Public Library. Garlick said the program does attract a few girls, but the participants are mostly young boys.

“It is funny to see so many boys sitting in that one room and have absolute quiet. They are concentrating so hard,” Garlick said.

Michael McNally, brand relations director for Lego Systems, said the official Lego Club is global, but consists of 2.5 million members from across the United States.

Children can sign up for the free club and will get a free magazine every other month that shows Lego themes through comics, puzzles, building instructions and behind-the-scenes interviews.

“We run building challenges through the Lego Club to inspire kids to create, then showcase the winning entries. The most popular section of the magazine is called ‘Cool Creations,’ where kids can send in pictures of themselves and their creations for other club members to enjoy.”

The club has an online hub that offers many similar features to ones in the magazine.

“Providing a safe community for kids around their shared passion of Lego building not only reinforces their desire to build, but it gives them an outlet for inspiring and being inspired by other Lego builders, while at the same time making them feel connected to the people behind the scenes at their favorite toy brand,” McNally said.

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