LEGOS: Brick Stickin' Good

Published on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:14 - Written by KELLY GOOCH

Stephen Beals had a childhood passion for Legos.

In fact, he said, that passion likely contributed to him being an engineer today and is something he hoped to instill in his 5-year-old daughter, Stephanie, through the Tyler Public Library’s Lego Designs Family Contest.

The contest, which began Monday and ends today, allows families to come together to create a Lego design based on a book. During the contest, families sat at tables and worked on their projects using Legos provided by the library.

Beals, his daughter and his wife, Amanda Beals, on Tuesday were working on a design for the book “The Three Little Pigs.” Yellow Legos were used to make the straw house, while brown Legos were used to make the wooden house.

“It looks harder than it is,” Beals said as he sat with his family.

Stephanie said she was having fun, and her father said the contest was a chance to use imagination.

At another table, Alicia Burgin and her children, 5-year-old Brookelyn and 8-year-old Ray, were making a design based on “Knuffle Bunny.”

Ms. Burgin said Ray enjoys Legos, and making a design based on “Knuffle Bunny” was his idea.

“He’s a big Lego fan,” she said, adding that she heard about the library contest and “wanted to give him a chance to build.”

“We’re doing it … for the fun of building,” she said.

This is the library’s second Lego Designs Family Contest, which Youth Services Librarian Linda Gray said celebrates National Library Week.

Kathryn Bennett, outreach technician at the library, said the library began doing a monthly Lego Block Party, as Legos are becoming popular in libraries as a hands-on way to incorporate play and literacy.

But last year, she said, it was hard to schedule the Lego block parties around the holidays in November and December, so library staff decided to do the Lego Designs Family Contest instead.

She said the goal is for participating families to learn “family cooperation.”

Ms. Bennett said contest participants must reference a book in their design, although the design doesn’t have to be a literal translation. She said categories include the design that most closely resembles a book but also the most creative.

Participants can work on a design from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. today.

First-, second- and third-place winners in each category receive certificates, while the first place winner in each category will receive a “Lego Prize Package.”

The creations will be judged on Monday. Ms. Gray said the next Lego Block Party is scheduled for May 17, and will be the last one until September. However, the library’s summer events incorporate a weekly Lego time on Tuesday afternoons during the Summer Reading Program, she said.