HOW IT STARTED
There are many libraries that now host a Lego Club for kids and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon! I had a conversation with a patron who was talking about her son and how he wasn’t really into sports and was very quiet. I told her I was thinking about starting a Lego club at the library and she loved the idea because her son loves Legos. I advertised for donations and a few trickled in. The Friends of the Library bought a few larger boxes and some green base plates. Everyone wanted to know when the first meeting would be and I said I didn’t know because we didn’t have enough Legos to start! Finally I just decided to set a date and see what happened.
ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
I sent out a plea for advice on how to structure the club. What ages? How long? Can they bring their own Legos? Should each meeting have a theme? Etc. I received so many emails from other Children’s Librarians in the state about how they run their programs – it was great. They had some great advice, tips and they told me what HAD NOT worked. The best tip I received was from a wonderful Children’s Librarian in the North Shore: a king-sized sheet to spread under the Legos to make cleanup easier. This probably saved me 20 minutes of cleanup time, no joke. I would have been crawling around on my hands and knees for a long, long time. Thank you!!
THE WAY IT WORKS
I decided to have the club for ages 6 & older, but younger kids could come with an adult. There would be a “Lego Challenge” written on the board but would not be required, just a guideline for kids who might want to do it. I bought a few Lego books to put out and I subscribed to the Lego Magazine – they send a bunch to teachers and librarians for free – so everyone who came to the meeting would get a copy to keep. I bought a sheet to spread out on the rug. I would explain to the kids that they could dump out the Legos onto the sheet and ask that they try to keep most of the Legos on the sheet. I also would put out small bins on the floor for kids who wanted to fill them up with Legos and build at the tables. I also had a survey for parents with ages of interested kids and which days & times worked best. I now have Lego Club twice a month, on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday from 4-5 pm. It seems confusing, but this seemed to be the only way for everyone to get to at least one meeting a month.
THE FIRST MEETING
The first meeting was during April vacation week. I figured this way kids would be looking for something to do and might come. I ended up with about 35 people! A few parents, about 3 girls and the rest ALL BOYS. It was amazing. Plus, once I set a date, I received TONS of Lego donations. And they were all extremely well-behaved. I was walking around the room and wondering what was going on – why were almost 30 boys (ranging in ages 4-12) being so quiet? They were completely concentrating on building. Legos may actually have magic powers. The “Lego Challenge” was to build a robot and some did, but most did whatever they wanted. I explained to them that they could not bring home what they made, but that I would display their creations in the Children’s Room with their name. (Only a couple younger kids had some trouble with this.) Also, the older kids did not seem to have any problem building next to younger ones. And clean-up was VERY EASY with a couple helpers and the sheet!
Basically, this is an easy program once you have your donations and figure out how it will work. The kids have been great so far. The second program I had around 44 people and my most recent one was about 25. And the parents are very supportive too. The creations are displayed for about a week and a half, which also advertises for the club, and then my staff breaks them apart to be used for the next meeting.
If you have any questions, just ask!