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LEGOs Take Over the Library!

LEGOs Take Over the Library!

I have a 6 year-old son, and, while I admit that I don’t do any building, I do get a little geeked out at some of his LEGO creations. So, I’m VERY excited about the upcoming Tennessee Valley LEGO Club show at the main branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

This will be one of their biggest shows yet, with towns, working trains, and even a LEGO robot that solves the Rubik’s Cube in minutes. A children’s play area will feature regular LEGO bricks and an all-new collection of Hero Factory pieces. Club members will be on hand throughout the event to answer guests’ questions and talk about their original creations. In anticipation of this event, I had the opportunity to ask some questions of TNVLC President, Jennifer Garlen.

How long does it usually take your group to prepare for an event like the one upcoming at Huntsville Public Library?
We start months in advance! Our club members build year round preparing for events and planning new projects. It takes a lot of planning to create the big collaborative town and train displays, and sometimes a single project can take a builder weeks or months. We meet regularly and communicate often about our upcoming shows. By the time we reach an event date, we have everything prepared to move and set up in just a few hours.[sws_pullquote_left] For both adults and kids, LEGO is a chance to use your imagination an create something, whether it’s a single car or a whole world. [/sws_pullquote_left]What are your favorite creations?
Of the more famous adult LEGO artists, I love Mike Doyle’s beautiful abandoned Victorian houses and Alex Eylar’s brilliantly lit movie scenes recreated in LEGO. One of my favorite Alabama builders is LEGO Store employee Stefan Formentano, who builds gorgeous castles and modern structures. As for my own projects, I really enjoy recreating scenes from classic movies and working on my New York brownstone neighborhood.

Did you love Legos as a child?
My mother wouldn’t let us have them! She said we had too many other collections of toys already. I started buying LEGO for myself as a pick-me-up when I was in college. I didn’t have much money, so I only bought small sets. At this point I have been collecting LEGO for about 22 years, so it feels like I have had them all my life.

What do you think people get out of LEGO play? Children? Adults?
For both adults and kids, LEGO is a chance to use your imagination an create something, whether it’s a single car or a whole world. It’s wonderful to see kids engaged in something that isn’t on a screen for a change, and the open-ended nature of a big tub of bricks is hard to beat. Adults see LEGO as a great medium for expressing creativity, an eye for detail, and a sense of humor or whimsy. There are some amazing artists using LEGO these days – they even have gallery shows. Sean Kenney’s LEGO sculptures will actually be coming to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens in 2015, so local folks will get a chance to see the incredible artistic potential of LEGO then.(EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember folks, you heard it on RCM first!!!)

Do you know how many LEGO you have in your personal collection?
Wow, that would really be impossible to count. The LEGO took over our house a long time ago. It’s everywhere. I do know that I have about 3000 minifigures. I do a census of them every few years and get them all out, which makes a huge mess but is a ton of fun.

One of Jennifer's creations from a past show.
One of Jennifer’s creations from a past show.

I heard there will be new LEGO Hero Factory items at this event. Can you tell us more about them?
Well, they’re new to the kids who come to our events. The LEGO Company generously donated a big bin of Hero Factory parts to help us do better shows and have happier young visitors. Our club members purchased some extra pieces to make it more fun for the kids, so this time our play area will have these great parts that children can use to build all sorts of heroes. We have learned the hard way that having bricks for kids to play with is a crucial part of any event! The children won’t be able to keep what they build because we want other kids to get to play with the parts, too, but hopefully they’ll have a great time while they are at the show.

What do you think adult LEGO enthusiasts have in common?
For one thing, the ability to look at something and say, “I bet I can build that out of bricks!” The adult fan community is huge, and all of us share a love for creativity and a lot of patience. It takes a long time to build the things adults dream up as LEGO projects. We all love this medium for the way we can shape it, but different builders make radically different things out of the same basic parts. That flexibility is one reason so many adults have gotten into LEGO. It can be what you want it to be.

How old do you have to be to become a member of the Tennessee Valley LEGO Club?
Regular members have to be 18 and up, but we sometimes accept junior members 14 and up with parental involvement. They have to be able to build original work – not just kits – at our club’s level and participate in long-range plans and meetings that are often consumed with the minute details of event planning. We get a lot of queries from parents with 10-12 year old boys, but we’re really an adult club.

What do you like better, the regular bricks or the sets?
The bricks, definitely! I like to build my own creations. I buy the sets for the characters and some of the special parts, but I mostly buy loose brick these days. That’s true of most adult LEGO hobbyists. We often buy sets we have no intention of building just for the parts we want.

The show will be amazing in and of itself, but if you need more convincing, over 100 LEGO prizes will be given away during the event, with free bingo games and door prizes on both days of the show. Prizes include Creator and Technic sets donated by the LEGO Company as well as Star Wars sets and other LEGO items generously provided by club members. Guests can also pick up LEGO Club Magazines and LEGO Store event calendars during the show.


Who: The Tennessee Valley LEGO Club & the Huntsville Public Library
When: Saturday, June 29th from 9AM-5PM and
Sunday, June 30th from 1PM-5PM
Where: Huntsville Public Library Auditorium, 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville
Admission: $5 per person

For more information about the event, please contact TNVLC President Jennifer Garlen at [email protected]. The Tennessee Valley LEGO Club also maintains a website and has a Facebook page!

Enter to Win!

Sure, $5 isn’t much to go see a gigantic LEGO show, but you don’t have to if you win tickets from Rocket City Mom! Enter to win below and we’ll pick a winner the Tuesday before the show.
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