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Building On Success: Lego Days Kick Off At Library
Back row, from left, Oakdale Rotarian Mary Guardiola, President of the Friends of the Library Sharon Arpoika, Oakdale Librarian Olga Cardenas; front row, left to right, Ava Whitford, 6, and Eli Whitford, 3, had the inception of their Lego creation in progress as they looked over the Lego assortment. VIRGINIA STILL/The Leader

Lego Day is now a monthly program at the Oakdale Library thanks to a generous donation from the Oakdale Rotary Club and the Friends of the Oakdale Library.

On Thursday, Dec. 11, the library debuted an event to over a dozen little residents of the city that allows them to play with the famous plastic bricks.

“Libraries are no longer static repositories of knowledge, filled with books and staffed with stern librarians hushing customers,” said Oakdale Librarian Olga Cardenas. “Libraries are now vibrant places offering digital services and enticing programming to engage the young and old.”

Cardenas said that in addition to their traditional story time programs, they are taking an active part in supporting families with academic endeavors by providing educational programs in a fun and engaging way.

According to studies, researchers believe the type of play that Lego constructing requires is very similar to that needed to build literacy.

Language is a system where meaning is constructed by assembling parts together – letters are put together to form words, words are used to create sentences and sentences in turn convey meaning. Lego bricks are put together to create models and a model conveys meaning. Children practice these skills that, cognitively speaking, are similar and they do it in a safe, nurturing environment, surrounded by books.

Lego programs allow children of various ages, backgrounds and academic abilities to interact, negotiate and collaborate in a new safe environment.

“Traditionally, once boys graduate our story time program, it is extremely difficult to attract them enough to continue visiting the library,” said Cardenas. “Generally, a visit translates in books in the hands of children, which translates in them becoming better readers and better readers invariably lead to academic success. Building with Legos is a way to attract 6-12 year-olds back to the library.”

Numerical literacy is yet another literacy provided by the program. Lego play helps to lay the foundation for logical mathematical thinking and problem solving skills. At times children will need to balance structures and count bricks.

Cardenas said the staff at the Oakdale Library is confident Lego Days will help participants become more literate, better problem solvers and better readers while having great fun.

For the next four months, the Oakdale Library will be offering STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics related programs including its monthly Lego Days.

Oakdale Library staff welcomes Lego donations from members of the community. Just bring your used Legos to the library and they will clean them and use them at the next Lego Day.

Lego Days will be on the second Thursday of the month at 3:30 p.m.

Children’s creations will stay on display for two to three weeks after the program.