WYOMING — The five young boys sitting around the table in the library activity room were focused on snapping together the tiny plastic LEGO bricks. They seemed oblivious to the several parents and other adults standing near them.
There on the table, besides the piles of assorted pieces, sat a multicolored plastic box of some sort, a Transformer-like Ninjago Samurai Warrior and its drag-racer-type Warrior Bike with big back wheels, front track and cannons.
The box, it turns out, was a donation built by some of the boys in the Wyoming Free Library’s Lego Club. Luke Garrison Fuller, 6, of Dallas, had added the hot tub and rocket ship to the top of the box. Zachary Shultz, 6, Swoyersville, called it a spy house.
The youngsters were just a few of the children who have been coming around the library to play with LEGOs. As if proof were needed to show the ever-growing popularity of the classic plastic construction toy, some 80 kids ages 6 to 12 are signed up to participate in one of three groups that meet throughout the month — the first and last Saturdays and every Wednesday after school.
“It took off like gangbusters,” library volunteer Colleen Garrison, Luke’s mom, said.
Garrison, who attends Misericordia University through the Women With Children program, started the club as a community-service project. But she plans to continue it because of its popularity.
The Pittston Memorial Library also has a LEGO Club. Director Anne Hogya said attendance varies, from 20 children to more than 50 in summer, when there are two programs per week.
Garrison started the club at the Wyoming library after seeing an article in a local magazine about a similar program at the Carbondale library and getting the OK from library executive director John Roberts.
“I knew we’d get a turnout,” she said.
So many children signed up, there are two groups of 30 that meet on the first and last Saturdays of the month, respectively.
But because of even more demand, an after-school group of 20 was formed and meets on Wednesdays. Approximately another dozen children are on a waiting list, Garrison said.
“People are asking us to expand,” she said. “I committed to two Saturdays and the Wednesdays.”
As each of the boys worked on their own LEGO construction projects, Vincent Contardi, 7, West Pittston, placed a speedboat he made on to what looked like a boat trailer, both made of LEGOs. Riley Knaub, 8, West Wyoming, was building a kind of house on stilts. Or was it a robot?
“I like making cities,” Vincent said.
He turned the “boat trailer” into a long car with a few adjustments.
Later, Luke, Riley and Russell VanAuken, 8, of West Wyoming, were off playing with their various creations on the carpet in the middle of the room, Luke with his Ninjago Sumarai Warrior, Russell with the Warrior Bike and Riley with his house on stilts/robot.
Vincent’s dad, Paul Contardi, said his son started getting into LEGOs a couple of years ago.
“He makes a lot of different things,” Contardi said.
“The best thing about it is they build something,” said Marlene Knaub, Riley’s mom and a member of the Friends of the Wyoming Free Library. “Their imaginations can run wild, and it builds their vocabulary.”
Garrison said LEGOs were donated to use for the club. Among the donors was the Friends of the Library group, which contributed nearly $500 worth of the toy to the club.
The youngsters will get to create some LEGO art for the library’s Children’s Art Exhibit April 13, 14 and 20 at T.W. Shoemaker Art in Wyoming.
The LEGO Club also will travel to New York City by bus on May 11 to go to the LEGO and Nintendo stores.
But if their play is any indication, they are happy just going to the library to build stuff.
There, at each session, they work on a theme, such as space, ocean or transportation and are encouraged to use their imaginations.
Garrison said she has books with specific LEGO instructions.
“It get the kids reading,” she said. “Parents say, ‘This is such a great thing. Thank you.’ “