“This is an alien, and these blocks down here are bacteria,” Isaiah Pruitt, 6, explained as he pointed out details of his Lego creation.
“Well, he learned about bacteria earlier today during story time,” said Isaiah’s mother, Jaimie Riggs-Pruitt. “The librarian read the book ‘Curiosity’ to the children.”
“Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover” by Marcus Motum tells about NASA’s Curiosity rover, a robotic vehicle that is exploring part of the planet.
“At least I know he listened to the story,” Riggs-Pruitt said of (Isaiah) with a chuckle.
Isaiah and his brother Kaleb Riggs, 11, recently attended story time followed by Lego Club at the Reidsville Library.
Story time and Lego Club are just two of the many offerings of the Rockingham County Public Library.
Lego Club is offered year-round at 4 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Reidsville Library, on the third Wednesday of the month at the Madison-Mayodan Library and on the third Thursday at the Eden Library.
The libraries had 85 Lego Club participants this month across the three branches, said Rachel Holden, Youth Services librarian for the Rockingham County Public Library.
“We have preschool story time, baby and toddler time and teen club that are offered year-round, as well,” Holden said. “For the summer, we have a reading club for school-age children each week at 2 p.m.”
In addition, the library offers a reading challenge for those under 18 to compete for fun, outer space prizes.
The theme of this summer’s theme — “A Universe of Stories” celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Holden said.
During the rest of the year, Holden offers various family programs during the last week of the month.
The August program will be about the computer game Minecraft, Holden said.
Isaiah and Kaleb are home-schooled, and Riggs-Pruitt loves being able to take her sons to the library to interact with other children and participate in story time and the
Lego Club, especially during the summer.
“It’s a way for them to be creative and look at the engineering side of things and not build by the book,” Riggs-Pruitt said. “For example, they are learning to layer so their creation doesn’t fall.”
She said her sons have been inspired by “The Lego Movie” and she hopes participating in the Lego Club while inspire their creativity.
“I hope they learn that it’s OK to walk your own path and you don’t have to build like the other children,” she said.
Riggs-Pruitt said she also hopes that participating in story time and the Lego Club benefits her children academically.
“There’s book work, which is great, and then there are kids that are hands-on, and there’s some who enjoy both,” she said. “If they can see and manipulate in front of you, it gives them confidence.”
Riggs-Pruitt said that as the boys get older, she may even encourage them to participate in a robotics club.
“Who knows, they may develop an interest in engineering,” she said.
Holden started the Lego Club in March 2018 as a way to promote engineering and problem-solving skills.
“It teaches teamwork and provides an outlet for socialization for like-minded individuals,” she said.
“It also tends to be a quiet program and encourages people to come to the library,” she said.
Average attendance for each Lego Club gathering is about 15, and the clubs are open to anyone able to safely play with small-size Lego bricks.
“I don’t limit age because everyone is welcome, but we do want everyone to be safe,” Holden said. “We have larger bricks available in the library for younger patrons.”
Holden said she has had participants range in age from grandparents to preschoolers.
“We provide all the Legos, so attendees just need to come in and be ready to build,” she said.
Friends of the Library groups help raise money to buy the Lego bricks through book sales, and donations from the public are accepted.
Holden makes sure all the bricks are clean for each club meeting, devises a monthly challenge, assists participants in building and puts the creations on display.
One memorable challenge was having children build their bedroom or their dream bedroom, which involved slides, pools and couches.
“I also enjoy letter challenges — building something that begins with the letter ‘b’ or ‘h,’ since it works on vocabulary skills,” Holden said. “One month, I forget the challenge, but someone replicated the Eden Drive-In.”
As Lego Club started winding down for the day, Kaleb proudly showed off his creation — an alien planet and alien complete with a blaster and a sword.
“Like a lightsaber,” Kaleb explained as he pointed to the sword, inspired by the fictional energy sword featured in the “Star Wars” movies). “I like expressing my creativity.”