Libraries are bricking it over introduction of Lego clubs

They call it “building on the lessons learned in the classroom”. Geddit??!

lego brickOver the summer holidays, Croydon’s libraries will be trying to attract local children by offering them the chance to play with Lego.

Given that the management of Croydon’s libraries has been entrusted to Carillion, a company better known for being in the construction business, perhaps the only surprise is that Croydon kids will be given plastic bricks, and not real cement and concrete.

According to Croydon Council, “Launching on Monday July 20, Croydon Council and Cultural Community Solutions are working in partnership with Lego Education to bring the popular construction toy to the borough’s libraries.

“To help demonstrate the exciting possibilities and technologies of Lego Education, 10 primary schoolchildren are being invited to the launch and will be the first in Croydon to get to grips with the new resources.”

carillion-logoAny parents of children who would like to be part of the launch, which is being held at Croydon Central Library, should email

According to the press release issued by Croydon Council, “The Lego Education programme supports children in an engaging and creative environment, allowing them to develop their understanding of computing, design and technology, science, maths and languages using a plaything familiar to them and their parents.”

They even quote the Labour councillor, Timothy Godfrey, who before he became the cabinet member in charge of culture, leisure and sport, had spoken out against the outsourcing of Croydon’s libraries by the Tories. This week, Godfrey said: “This is a great addition to the services already offered by Croydon’s libraries service, and one that’s sure to be a big hit with the borough’s children.

“Lego has amused generations of children while, at the same time, firing their imaginations, enhancing their hand-eye coordination, and, I’m sure, inspiring many to become engineers, architects, builders and designers.”

Shirley Library: one of the venues for the Lego "taster sessions". Or marketing exercise?

Shirley Library: one of the venues for the Lego “taster sessions”. Or marketing exercise?

It is easy to appear puritanical about all this. Nor do we wish to be killjoys for younger children eagerly anticipating their long summer holidays. Indeed, the notion that all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl is well-founded, and practical learning is often very effective.

But it is surely a sad sign of our times that no where in the council’s press release about our public libraries is there a single mention of the word “books” or the word “reading”.

And don your hard hat and dig into the details of this summer holidays scheme, and what you discover appears to be a bit of a marketing exercise on the quiet, relying on “pester power” and doting parents’ tendency to indulge their children.

The press release on behalf of Croydon’s libraries explains that the summer Lego activity will lead to the establishment of “Lego Clubs” from September, for which parents will be expected to pay “a small fee”. We’re led to believe that this may be less than £3, though the council press office failed to state how “small” this fee for using public library services might be.

Who’s being cynical now?

Here’s the details of the various trial sessions…

Launch event: Monday 20 July

Time: 11am to noon
Location: Croydon Central Library, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET
E-mail: to book your place contact (limited to 10 – first-come, first-served basis, confirmation will be emailed to successful applicants).
Phone: 020 3700 1034

Taster sessions

New Addington Library, New Addington Centre, 61 Central Parade, CR0 0JD
Date: Wednesday 23 July
Time: 2.30 to 3.30pm
Phone: 020 3700 1009

Thornton Heath Library, Brigstock Road, CR7 7JB
Date: Tuesday 4 August
Time: 2.30 to 3.30pm
Phone: 020 3700 1023

Shirley Library, Wickham Road/Hartland Way, CR0 8BH
Date: Thursday 6 August
Time: 2.30 to 3.30pm
Phone: 020 3700 1019

Norbury Library, Beatrice Avenue, SW16 4UW
Date: Monday 17 August
Time: 2.30 to 3.30pm
Phone: 020 3700 1011

Purley Library, Banstead Road, CR8 3YH
Date: Tuesday 25 August
Time: 2.30 to 3.30pm
Phone: 020 3700 1013

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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3 Responses to Libraries are bricking it over introduction of Lego clubs

    • If you had wasted less time with your Lego, you might have been able to help Professor Laithwaite deliver the linear induction motor, so it could have been used on British railways, rather than in Japan… (Have I just advocated train sets in libraries?)

  1. I guess someone’s got to suggest that Meccano is better! Great idea though and many Engineer’s that I worked with used to play with both and some still do.

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