TUCKAHOE, N.Y. - A super-powered race car, a space station and an axe-wielding robot all made an appearance Wednesday afternoon at the Tuckahoe Library, where more than a dozen kids participated in the “Legos in the Library” program.
The program, which is typically done twice a month from 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays in the activity room, encourages kids ages 5-10 to use their imagination to create whatever they can with Lego blocks. The finished pieces are then displayed in the library until the next “Legos in the Library” day, where they get to do it all over again.
Youth Services Librarian Ellen Tannenbaum, who oversees the program, said it allows kids’ imaginations to run wild and also teaches them to share and coexist together.
“They learn how to share pieces, mats and ideas. Everyone loves the stories behind the other buildings. They can always explain exactly who and what everything is,” she said.
The kids have a wide variety of colors, sizes, characters and accessories from which to choose. There are several crates of Legos available for the children to make their dreams reality. Once completed, the pieces are put in a display case so families can come see the finished product whenever they want.
Tannenbaum said by putting the Legos on display, it serves as a gateway to get more community members in the library.
“The kids want to come back because their stuff is on display and they want to show their parents or their grandparents,” she said. “Once they’re here, they check out books and have to come back to return the books. While they’re here they sometimes use the laptops or check out the movies. It’s important they be able to think of the library as a community space.”
The “Legos in the Library” program has been in existence for only about a year, but has become one of the most popular events. The first time Tannenbaum had the program, 16 children showed up and she had a “standing-room-only crowd.” Since then, she tries to cap the attendance at a dozen – and asks parents to register by calling the library in advance.
“It’s a drop-in program, so parents usually just drop their kids off and poke their heads in to take pictures at the end,” she said.
The program is just one of many initiatives Tannenbaum uses to get children frequenting the library at a young age. To augment the “Legos in the Library” program, the library now features Lego books and movies that have become immensely popular. Other programs, such as the “Paws and Tales” program June 19 and the Meadow Farm Kids Summer Kickoff June 29 combine education and animals to encourage children to continue using the library as a resource, even as they get older.
“Libraries shouldn't be about one age group, or one user type. It shouldn't be about just book readers, or just those studying, or those who want to use the computer. It should be about all of those people,” Tannenbaum said. “With more programs comes more repeat visitors, even if it’s just once a month.”