Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Library LEGO Check-Out Club

When I first came on to the La Crosse Public Library team, one of my very first ideas was a stealth program where the kids would add LEGOs to a pile/bin/whatever every time they check out. Then, at the end of the month or whenever, they would have a "Big Build" party and make something out of the LEGOs they had collected.

I am SO happy that idea didn't fly at the time, because what came of it nearly 3 years later is WAY better than that.

When it was time to debut our check-out club, Brooke and I racked our brains for an hour coming up with a cool, though straightforward name. We both liked alliteration, so we were looking for a word that started with the same letter as "LEGO" without distracting from what the club was about. We both have graduate degrees AND other degrees in language-related fields and I mean WHAT WORD COULD WE EVEN USE THAT BEGINS WITH L TO DESCRIBE A LIBRARY PROGRAM.
OH. RIGHT.


LIBRARY.
Anyway.
Here's how the program went:
1. We pre-made small ziploc bags with three LEGO each in them. We started with a hundred and added more when we got low.
2. Every time there was a check-out (that we caught at self-check, or as they were leaving the room to check out at the big desk, or if they came up and asked about the club)we gave every child 4 and over a bag with 3 LEGO in it.
3. We guided them over to our "porthole", which is usually reserved for kids' collections, opened it up and let the kids add to the LEGO base or tower

Finished product!
Finally creating this took a bit of planning, but it definitely paid off. We needed to have a space that is not place where kids could get to easily enough to break it, BUT easy enough to have kids reach to add to the tower. If you had no space like that, however, it'd be all right to keep it by the reference desk. A key part of the mystery of the LEGO tower is that it looks different every time you visit, so it's no great shakes if it break and you need to rebuild it (or have an unruly child in desperate need of something productive to do rebuild it, eh?)

Tying in STEM a little bit, avoid the possibility of having kids place LEGO in places that tip the tower over by saying "This needs to be a stable structure so it doesn't fall over. I know you'll find the best place for your LEGOs so they stay!" or something similarly fun/vocabulary enriching. They'll take their time finding the perfect spot!

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