They’re mad about Lego

Ryan Hanssen - 4-webBy Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The program room of the Morinville Community Library was filled with the sounds of children being creative Wednesday night. Approximately 22 boys and girls came out to the library’s first Lego Club session, a new program that will be held on the first Wednesday of the month from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The idea to start the club came from nine-year-old Lego enthusiast and library volunteer Diego Oyarzun who has been working with the plastic connecting blocks since he was four. For Oyarzun, stacking Lego lovers in a room together made as much sense as stacking the blocks together to make something unique.

“It would bring everybody together so that everybody could see everybody else’s ideas and they might get some building experience for themselves,” Oyarzun said of his motivations for pitching the idea of a Lego Club.

It is the limitless permutations and combinations possible with the building blocks that keep Oyarzun working to hone his Lego skills. “You can do whatever you want with it,” he said. “If you want to make a car, you can make a car. If you want to make a ship, you can make a ship. If you want to make a person, you can make a person.”

Five years into working with the endless stream of kits and products made by the Danish company, Oyarzun finds his current tastes running towards the Halo themed kits. “I like the Halo kit because the figures are not blocky; they are more rounded and they can move their arms and stuff,” he said.

Alex Yeo - 7-webAnother Lego enthusiast who came out to the club’s inaugural evening was seven-year-old Alex Yeo. For Yeo, the opportunity to build new things was what attracted him to the new club. Yeo said he is particularly attracted to Lego because of the action figures that come with the kits. Though dressed in a Star Wars Lego hoody, The Lucas Lego are not his favourite. “There’s one better,” he said. “Batman.”

But children were not the only ones smiling Wednesday night. Parents were pleased to see their children engaged in an activity with other local children.

For Morinville Community Library Manager Isabelle Cramp, seeing her program room full yet again with a new activity was cause for joy. “I’m very pleased,” she said. “I’m not entirely surprised because I knew it was going to be very popular. But I’m happy to see how well tonight is going. That gives me great hope that the Lego Club’s going to be around for a long time.”

Lego has been popular at the library prior to the arrival of buckets of the plastic blocks. “We know it is popular because we carry Lego books,” Cramp said. “They’re always popular. We know there is a lot of love for Lego. I think Lego is one of the toys that you don’t really outgrow. You can be 50 years old and still be hooked on Lego. I think it is because of the creation part of it. You can take the same pieces and make all kinds of things. I think people connect with that.”

One group of adults who have connected with the idea of Lego in the library is the Friends of the Morinville Public Library, a non-profit society that raises funds for library supplies and program equipment. The volunteer group donated the funding for the initial supplies and have committed to supporting the program with ongoing funding as needed.

“That’s a very good fit for them,” Cramp said. “It’s something where it doesn’t matter the age. Everybody is welcome to the club. I think they are going to enjoy shopping for Lego and helping us collect a good collection for our members. You can never have enough Lego.” The library is also accepting donations from the public for new or used Lego.

Cramp said the success in club registration has prompted the library to take a list of names to see if there is sufficient interest in a Saturday Lego Club.

For more information call the Morinville Community Library at 780-939-3292

Above left:Four-year-old Ryan Hanssen concentrates on his next building project at the Morinville Community Library’s Lego Club Mar. 6. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

Above Right: Alex Yeo (7) focuses on his creative side.

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