Elodie Reed, St. Albans Messenger
FRANKLIN — “Could you take out the bicycle and handcuffs for me?” he asked.
“Are there any girl faces that aren’t angry?” she said a few moments later.
One has to have a kid’s imagination to guess what Noelle Westbom, 7, and her 4-year-old brother, Lennon, were planning to create during this week’s session of Lego Thursdays.
Fortunately, the Haston Library in Franklin is a place where kid’s ideas, full of play handcuffs, bicycles and happy or angry girl Legos faces, can run wild.
Kathleen Engstrom, the librarian here for a little less than three years, said yesterday that, in contrast to common perception, her library is rarely quiet. With just two kids attending Lego Thursdays, where up to 12 have shown up in past weeks, it was a slow day.
“It’s hardly ever quiet here,” Engstrom said. “We try to be really active.”
The long list of events and programs keeps Haston Library busy with things such as summer reading programs, natural history museum presentations including a live raptor, looking at the sun through solar scopes with the Vermont Astronomical Society, and story hour on Saturday mornings.
The library also sponsors a Crossroads afterschool program on Tuesdays for Franklin School District and holds an annual Tractor Day, which will be on Oct. 18 this year, and has planted a Children’s Garden with preschoolers. Engstrom said that she recently held a tea party with young children where they used fresh herbs out of the garden to make the tea.
“And we had cucumber sandwiches,” she added. “Kids eat out of it (the garden) during the year.” On Wednesday, Sept. 24, a new class of preschoolers will make a visit to the garden to harvest the vegetables, which will then be used to make stone soup with local residents and groups.
The Haston Library also has a worm bed with 1,000 worms or so. “That’s a big hit with the kids,” said Engstrom.
In coming months, the library is also taking part in a county-wide library campaign called “Geek the Library,” a community awareness campaign funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The campaign, which kicked-off during Franklin County Field Days, is focused around taking photos of local people with what they “geek.”
“To ‘geek’ is what you’re passionate about and what you love,” said Engstrom. She added that the photos would be displayed in campaign posters on Oct. 6 in libraries around Franklin County.
“This definitely generated a lot of excitement,” Engstrom said.
Also exciting for the library is the Lego Thursdays program, which Engstrom said she’s wanted to start for some time. The Legos were bought with grant money provided through Building Brighter Futures, a statewide nonprofit that focuses on early childhood in Vermont.
“We provide the Legos and they play,” Engstrom said. “Last week we had quite a few kids.”
Though Lego Thursdays was a bit sparse at the Haston Library yesterday, it was no less fun for Noelle and Lennon Westbom, who took part in the program for the first time. Their mother, Nicole, said, “They love Lego time, that’s for sure.”