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New Lego Makerspace in place at the Niagara Library

Jesse Hirte and her brother, Gatlin, play with Legos in the new Lego Makerspace at the Niagara Public Library.

NIAGARA, Wis. — When asked what she likes about Legos, Jesse Hirte, age 8, didn’t hesitate. “I like building with them and playing with them.” Jesse, and her brother Gatlin, age 5, enjoys building with the Legos whenever she comes to the library.

The Niagara Public Library recently created a Lego Makerspace. It includes an Epic Lego Wall, a few books with building ideas, storage bins shaped like giant Legos, challenge cards, and of course, plenty of Legos.

The items for the Makerspace were purchased thanks to a grant from the Nicolet Federated Library System’s 2019 Library Improvement & Innovation Grant, which funds programs in the areas of workforce development, lifelong learning, and/or technology.

Jackie Tripp, Niagara’s assistant librarian, noticed something magical.

“The kids will sit together, sometimes four at a time, at a table and work quietly together. They praise each other’s work and collaborate on ideas. It’s a joy to see.” In fact, the name Lego comes to us from the phrase “leg godt” which means “play well” in Danish. Legos originated in Denmark back in 1934.

Here are a few snippets of conversation overheard at a recent Lego Club meeting at the Niagara Library:

“Does anyone have a black six?”

“Oh, nevermind, I’m going to use blue instead.”

“Wow, that’s cool. It looks like the American flag.”

“I’m making a lawn mower! You can ride back here.”

“I need a purple four.”

“Here you go. Here’s two purple fours.”

“See? I built this part higher, so the cats don’t get out.”

“These are the outside steps and up here is the dance floor!”

The Legos aren’t just fun, they’re also very educational, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) development. They boost a child’s motor skills, spatial skills, language skills, and problem solving.

The library will happily accept donations of new and used Legos.

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