BY HEATHER STEEVES
For the Midcoast Beacon
CAMDEN — Before the big event Amy Hand walks quickly over to the rows of white shelves.
“688.1. 688.1 — let’s pull it.”
Failing to find the book, Hand shuffles through a stack on a lower shelf before resorting to the orphaned books on the carts.
“There it is!”
Of the six Lego-themed books, this is the one remaining on the Camden Public Library shelves.
As she trots back to the downstairs room, best friends Emerson Brott, 7, of Camden and Jay Hokkanen, 7, of Rockport are playing with the plastic bricks.
It’s all a ploy to lure little boys into the library.
“If you can get them in here doing something else, you can also show them books,” said Hand, the head children’s librarian.
Her trickery proves amazingly successful.
“Emerson,” Hand says, holding up a brightly colored hardcover, “have you seen this book?”
“No,” Emerson said.
“Want to see it?”
“YA!” the two boys scream in unison.
Emerson and Jay then abandon the pile of plastic rubble behind them and turn to read about the toys and stare at pictures of a Lego Empire State Building.
Minutes later Jesse Bifulco, who lives right around the corner from the library, brought his canvas box of toys into the room.
“I wanted to bring my whole bucket, but my dad couldn’t carry it,” he said.
All the boys — and it is boys, though of the 35 who came in June, two of the children were girls — herd their Legos into separate piles, like landmines, across the room. Sharing seems to be no problem, as boys ooo and ahhh over each other’s collections.
The program, Lego Lovers Club, started in June and had its second meeting July 21. It is Hand’s way of bringing boys into the library to have fun.
Apparently, girls are easier to woo, “literarilly” speaking.
The idea traveled from Union, by way of Isaiah Potter, 9, and Kylar Potter, 6, who convinced their mom to ask Hand for a Lego program. The two boys then donated part of their Lego collection — which is extensive — to the library for kids who don’t have their own to play with.
The two boys are home schooled and their mother, Kara Potter, of Union, said the boys already have made friends through the process — and last time they checked out some books, too.
“It’s cool to see kids want to go to the library,” Kara Potter said.
Isaiah is a Lego expert. Legos come in themes, and of the “knights” theme alone, the brothers have seven sets. They also have “Indiana Jones” sets (Kylar’s favorite), “Star Wars” sets (Isaiah’s favorite) and more.
But he, by a loose, general rule, doesn’t mix sets. Jedi warriors never fight samurai fighters, but he said if they did have to engage in combat, the Jedi warrior would definitely win.
Isaiah uses the time at the club to make trades.
“I missed out on the dino attack [themed Legos] because I didn’t know about them — I was like, 5,” he said, stating that the older kids have sets he didn’t have access to in his toddler years.
In the June session of the club, Isaiah swapped a chainsaw sword for some army men.
By the end of the club meeting, Isaiah put his name at the top of the waiting list for the new Lego book.
The next Lego Lovers Club meeting is at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, at the Camden Public Library.
All kids are welcome and should bring Legos if they have them. The library is seeking Lego donations. For information, call 236-3440.
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