Brick Central Building Club reaches 2,000 attendees
By Taylor J. Hale
Special to the Gazette
STEVENS POINT — The Portage County Public Library’s Brick Central Building Club reached a monumental milestone of welcoming over 2,000 builders and creators into their Pinery Room LEGO headquarters on Dec. 6.
Library specialist and club organizer, Deb Roloff, has run the club since its start over 4-years ago. She is thankful for the enduring support the program has received.
“Our Brick Central Building Club started in 2013 with a grant from the Portage County Public Library Foundation to purchase the necessary materials, bricks, base plates, reference materials, mini-figures and other specialty pieces,” Roloff said.
The program has been held nearly monthly since its conception. It gives parents and children alike a means to create and use their imaginative faculties. The library curates the club to engage kids with the books around them and implicate them with experiences that help form a foundation of knowledge.
“A program such as Brick Central is a great way for children to develop their creative thinking, spatial awareness, fine motor, imagination and problem-solving skills,” Roloff said. “When posed with a challenge at each meeting, the children are asked to think outside the box and build something that they may not have chosen themselves, but are left with the freedom to create their own masterpiece.”
Participation in the pre-set thematic adventures is not mandatory but encouraged. The projects truncate learning concepts into a tangible and fun experience for the children. Helping them elucidate and interpret complex physical and structural issues while absorbing story themes and communication skills.
“It is free, accessible to all and a great event for children, parents, grandparents, family members, mentors and friends to spend time together,” Roloff explained. “It allows children to build new friendships while fostering a love of building and learning.”
The themes and challenges involve having the youth construct bridges, marble mazes and more, all out of LEGO blocks. The club has grown since it started nearly a half-decade ago. Roloff is moved to see the city embrace the progressive and amusing evenings of LEGO building.
“In the beginning, we could accommodate 25 children in the program but with the help of a second grant and some small donations we were able to increase that to 30 per session,” she said. “We also have a group of mentor/mentee pairs that have been attending for well over a year now.”
The event may have started modestly, but easily accrues a crowd of 50 or more people including parents on busy nights. It is clear that the city of Stevens Point and other neighboring communities enjoy the club. And Roloff hopes to continue to push children’s minds and offer a fun way for families to interact with their local library. She is truly passionate in her pursuits of the collaboration of education and entertainment.
“I enjoy talking with the kids about their creations,” she said. “I hope this program will give the children a fond memory of libraries that will help foster a desire for lifelong learning.”
With over 63 events held and over 2,000 LEGO attendees since 2013, the event has grown into a well-established and welcoming atmosphere. The next session of Brick Central Building Club starts on Jan. 3. So prep your blocks and get ready to flex your creativity while you compose a colorful-brick masterpiece.
For more info on this event and other programs visit the library’s website at www.pocolibrary.org.