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A place to play, piece by piece

Local librarians say Lego clubs a positive trend

A Lego depiction of a dragon by a young member of the Guilderland Public Library Lego Club.

A Lego depiction of a dragon by a young member of the Guilderland Public Library Lego Club.

The inspiration to read can be found in unusual places, but incentives to get children to visit the library are being found in fun and creative ways.

Lego clubs are being formed in libraries across the county and the Bethlehem Public Library is looking to start its own group for area children to participate in over the summer.

“A lot of libraries have been starting up these clubs and now we’re trying to get in on it because the kids seem to love it,” said Cathy Brenner, the Bethlehem Public Library’s services librarian.

Brenner said the library “isn’t just about books.” The building also acts a community center for children when school isn’t in session, so new programs are constantly being thought up to keep kids interested.

“We have a Pokemon Club now because a young boy walked up to me and said they liked one,” she said. “The library is a safe place for them to meet with friends and enjoy each other’s company.”

The club is run different ways at different libraries. Some have a theme or challenge at each meeting, where participants are asked to build a certain item or thing within the allotted time. Others use the time to allow the kids to free build, while some ask the kids to get into groups and work together as a team.

The William K. Sanford Town of Colonie Library and the Guilderland Public Library have both had Lego clubs since 2009.

“They get to meet new friends, plus they learn to work together and how to negotiate because we have limited pieces,” said Ann Marie Cicchinelli, Colonie library’s Youth Services librarian. “They learn social skills.”

Cicchinelli said her club started with challenges each meeting, but eventually coordinators learned their children just wanted to be able to play freely. They have since encouraged club members to get creative with their constructions. The children are then asked to explain what they built to help with their public speaking and narrative skills.

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