Originally Published: February 1, 2013 9:55 p.m.
PRESCOTT - For preschoolers Brantley and Preston Arroyo, the attraction of the hundreds of tiny plastic pieces was obvious.
"I like it because I can build," 5-year-old Brantley said, as he concentrated on the colorful interlocking parts spread out before him.
With help from his 3-year-old brother, Brantley was well on his way to creating a unique new car.
The boys were just two of several dozen children and parents who gathered Thursday afternoon for the Prescott Public Library's second Lego Expo.
Sprawled on blankets throughout the library's Founders Suite, small groups of chattering Lego enthusiasts created everything from cars to skyscrapers to monsters.
It turns out that Brantley and Preston were among the target audiences for the Lego Expo.
"One of the reasons (for the event) is getting boys in, winning the hearts of boys," said Martha Baden, public services manager for the library. Noting that some library events attract mostly girls, Baden said, "It's fun to see kids who aren't regular attendees."
And even though Thursday's event was all about creating things, Youth Services Librarian Steve Ryan said there are plenty of reading tie-ins.
"There are tons of Lego books," Ryan said.
Baden said the library has had an increasing number of requests for Lego's Ninjago line of books.
Brantley and Preston's mom Hope Hatcher was obviously pleased that the boys had a chance to experiment with the popular construction toys.
"I think it's awesome," she said, as she sat nearby, watching the construction process. "(Legos) are kind of expensive, and this gives them a chance to try them."
Anna Merrell, whose boys Braddock and Brody were busy racing their Lego vehicles down a paper track, said the expo was the attraction that kept them at the library Thursday afternoon.
"We just happened to be here, and when we heard about (the Lego event), their ears perked up," Merrell said of her 5- and 6-year-old sons. "At any occasion, their first request is Legos."
An obvious big hit with the boys, the Lego Expo attracted its share of girls as well.
Sisters Eva and Elina Pagliasotti sat near the groups of boys, creating their own version of a car.
"We just got our first Lego at Christmastime," 8-year-old Elina said. "We haven't really experimented yet."
Baden said the library staff is always looking for events that will appeal to children. After conducting the first Lego Expo in September to a huge response, she said the library got regular requests for a repeat.
Along with attracting new library users, Baden said the Lego activity also offers other benefits. "There are a lot of imaginative things going on here," she said, noting that the group atmosphere also encourages collaboration.
Added Ryan: "One of the purposes of the library is to be a gathering place for kids."
The Friends of the Prescott Public Library organization provided the money for the Legos, Baden said.