Library unleashes readers’ creativity

Published 3:49 pm Monday, July 19, 2010

Pelham Public Library’s summer reading theme for this year is “Make a Splash!” and Children’s Librarian Mary Campbell is working hard to get younger Pelham readers into her library pool.

This year, her programming offers a new opportunity called Brick Brigade.

The Pelham Brick Brigade meets on selected summer Fridays and consists of Lego enthusiasts congregating to create unique constructions.

Campbell found this idea in a School Library Journal article. She was intrigued and decided to recreate the program for Pelham’s summer library crowd.

Although the name Brick Brigade may sound like Campbell has the kids engaging in hard labor, she’s actually unleashed them on a new creative pursuit. The Lego building blocks used by the Brick Brigade offer a wide array of construction kits and creative possibilities.

Lego building blocks have taken on a whole new persona recently. The local mall has a Lego store with some impressive constructions in the display windows.

“The Lego store in Chicago has amazing constructions including the Chicago skyline and Harry Potter characters created from Legos,” Campbell said.

She thought Lego building would be a great way to draw ’tween age boys into the library. Obviously, Campbell has located her target audience.

Many boys and a few girls were hard at work on Lego creations last Friday.

“We have more dads at Brick Brigade than any other library activity. Some dads have to restrain themselves to let the kids build without their help,” she said.

Lego kits boast more unique parts and pieces than in decades past.

Seven-year-olds Jackson Maxwell and Patrick Vandiver worked with a Lego kit containing dinosaur pieces to create amazing Lego Dinosaurs, while older kids worked on more intricate constructions.

Valley Intermediate School fifth-graders Jake Ferrier and Roderick Hall were creating larger Lego monstrosities.

When asked about the creative nature of building versus other forms of art, Ferrier said, “When you create something with Lego blocks, you are making a toy that you can play with, but if you draw a picture, you can’t play with your picture.”

As the kids worked on their Lego creations, they were creating three-dimensional art forms that they find both useful and fun.

Blocks, paper and books are all varieties of boxes when we put them in the hands of children. It’s amazing how kids take boxes, add their imagination and generate magic.