Since March of 2018, Laois libraries have been engaged in a Lego Film Studios project aimed at older children and teenagers. Funded in part by the LAI Public Libraries Project Prize and supported by our County Librarian, Bernie Foran, we have led a series of Lego stop-go animation workshops with the aim of producing short 3-5 minute films entirely created and controlled by young people from across Laois and into Kilkenny.
The resulting films were then given an official screening at the Dunamaise Arts Centre early last October on a full size cinema screen. The participants were also presented with handmade Lego award statuettes. This year we are currently calling for other Library authorities to join with us in this library project and enter their film shorts created by young people in a nationwide competition.
The aim of this project is to encourage older children and young adults to come back to the library. It has developed into something much more. Apart from the skill sets the project involves (creative writing, story boarding, photography, Lego building, voice acting) and the more profound social exercises that the participants engage in (teamwork, critical thought, taking direction, finding their ‘voice’), we have seen these young adults become confident users of the library. They have gained a sense of ownership of the space and are no longer daunted by walking through the door. During our workshops we have discussed the influence of social media and internet security. In a world where this demographic are seen as the most impressionable, these participants have become creators of content and in turn start to view the media which surrounds them in a more critical way. Through this project we have gained creative, engaged and regular library patrons, making our libraries truly a space for all.