By SUSAN ANDRUS/Montana State News

The stereotypical hushed atmosphere and a glaring librarian bringing her finger to her lips at the slightest peep of a child can’t be found at the Bozeman Public Library’s Monday night Lego Maniacs Club.

This past Monday, the community room was abuzz with the sounds of about 25 children laughing and talking as they sorted through color-coded piles of the bright, interlocking bricks first introduced in 1949.

Children’s Librarian Ginny Cowan says about three years ago there was such an amazing response to a Lego robotics workshop led by MSU Engineering faculty member Sheree Watson, a Lego club seemed like a good addition to the library’s children’s programs.

Cowan procured some donations of the toys and even convinced her grown son to relinquish his collection, which had been stored in her garage.

“He kept his favorite set and gave the rest to the library,” she said.

The Lego Maniacs Club was born.

Cowan says there are usually about 30 participants, including parents, but that there can be upwards of 60 some days. Most of the kids who participate are around 8 or 9 years old and the program is intended for school-age kids, but younger siblings and younger kids are welcome with a parent or mentor.

The Lego club is a place for kids to socialize while engaging in open and creative play. “We wanted something that was creative, but not art,” says Cowan, who describes the atmosphere as “very democratic and shared.”

For more information, volunteering to help or making a donation of Lego base plates or minifigures (they have plenty of bricks), call Ginny Cowan at 582-2404.

The Lego Maniacs Club meets Monday afternoons from 3:30-5:30 in the large meeting room at the Bozeman Public Library.

Edited by Trudi Fisher.

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