CAROL STREAM — The Lego brand is one toy that has withstood the test of time.
As of late, these multicolored blocks and building accessories are as beloved as ever. Legos have been around nearly 65 years.
The Lego Group, with its roots in Billund, Denmark, began manufacturing the interlocking toys in 1949. Since then, a global Lego subculture has developed. Lego-themed movies, books, games, competitions, parks, museums, stores and even a Legoland Hotel opening this summer in California confirm the ongoing popularity of these plastic bricks.
Tanya Schwander is the youth services librarian for the Carol Stream Public Library. When she learned area libraries were hosting well-attended Lego Builders Clubs, she decided it was time to offer this opportunity to the community.
“Tanya took and ran with the idea,” said Pat Roche, assistant youth services department head.
“We started meeting in January, one Saturday a month for an hour. But [the Lego Club] was so popular that we are now meeting twice a month,” Schwander said.
With the need for two monthly meetings, children in kindergarten through second grade now gather on the second Saturday. Children in grades four through six meet on the fourth Saturday. Schwander said those guidelines are flexible.
“We just ask that they sign up for only one Saturday a month,” said Schwander, noting both groups meet between 11 a.m. and noon.
In addition to the Lego Builders Club being a creative outlet for children, it promotes all the library has to offer.
“It’s a great way to get them into the library and let them know about other programs,” said Mary Clemens, youth services department head.
Each session accommodates up to 20 children with four to a table. And there is room enough for the parents who want to join them, which in most instances are the dads.
“It’s nice to get the dads here because we usually get a lot of moms and grandmas bringing the kids to the programs,” Schwander said .
At the beginning of each meeting, members of the group are reminded of rules with an emphasis on good manners. Then, it is up to the children to construct something that follows the monthly theme or to venture out with other creations.
“It’s great so see them use their imagination,” said Schwander, who readily admits she, too, is a Lego fan.
Although Joey LaPorte is 17, during Saturday’s meeting, he was just as engrossed with his creation as his brothers Jovanni, 10, and Jon Lucca, 9.
“I’m not too old to play with Legos,” he proudly said.
Nor is their dad, Joe. He was on-hand to work with his sons just as he does at home when building the Lego kits they’ve acquired.
“Who could resist Legos?” asked youth services associate Steven Dexheimer. “It’s great for the parents to come in and work with the kids.”
Although Schwander bought several Lego kits and received donations, she will accept additional contributions at the library, 616 Hiawatha Drive. Registrations for the April 13 and 27 meetings now are being accepted online at www.cslibrary.org or by calling the youth services department at 630-344-6127.
“It’s amazing how much the boys and girls still love Legos,” Schwander said.
All are welcome to view the children’s creations. They are displayed in the youth services department during the week after club meetings.