About a year and a half ago, I started a once-a-month Lego club. We're taking a break now (at least for a few months), but here's a run down of how it went:
Theme: Favorite Games
We had no Lego. Per the suggestion of other libraries, I asked for donations from patrons. My boss laughed at me, and I got a whopping two donations. Lesson One: Don't Rely On Donations. (Disclaimer: I know some other libraries have had much more luck than I did!)
I asked that we buy some Lego, and I received some off-brand blocks from Amazon that were really, really terrible. Would go flying off the base plates, and sometimes would hardly stack together. They were difficult to use, and I didn't want to call a program "Lego Club" and not actually have any Lego. So I sat on it a few months. Lesson Two: Don't Buy Off-Brand Lego.
Theme: Dinosaurs and Dragons
Our 2017 Summer Reading theme was Build a Better World, so the programming librarian at our other branch library and I agreed we would use some of the budget on Lego for some appropriately-themed activities. We bought several of the Lego Creative Boxes (like 10704 and 10697) and Lego Education sets (like the wheels set, windows set, baseplates and some minifigs. And several baseplates. Tip: Have plenty of baseplates and plenty of minifigs.
We also bought some used Lego assortments from eBay, and had a positive experience with that.
At first I mixed in our cheapo Lego with the real stuff (because we had them, right?). But it was easy to spot the bad ones, and some of the kids would actually avoid them. I eventually (like, after several months) weeded out the generic Lego and used them for Lego craft programs where kids could take them home (like our Lego Clocks).
Theme: Star Wars
Anyway, back to Lego Club. We had a monthly theme, and I would print off building instructions that fit the theme. Building instructions are easy to find on Pinterest, Lego, Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls, Flickr, YouTube, or BrickPlayer. The instructions don't even necessarily have to be step-by-step. A lot of the time I'd just print out a picture. They can build from there.
I let the kids take home any instructions they wanted to. I also kept the leftovers in a binder that I had out every month in case they weren't feeling the theme.
I also did a slideshow of awesome Lego sculptures I found online that fit the theme, or sometimes showcased one particular artist (like Sean Kenney, David Cole, Nathan Sawaya, Thomas Paulsom, or Bruce Lowell).
They don't *have* to build from the theme--I just do that to keep the instructions/slideshow cohesive. The first couple of times, I just had the instructions out and the kids weren't really into it. I found that if I built a few of the things from the instructions and had them out, they were more apt to want to build them as well.
I also usually played Everything is Awesome while we built.
Instruments and Music (we did this for 2018 Summer Reading-
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Dinosaurs and Dragons
Animals & Insects
Beaches/Under the Sea
Aliens & Planets
Bridges & Towers
Favorite Games (Pokemon, Mario, etc)
I made it official by making some Lego Club badges. I just had them out in a little basket and patrons could take one when they came.
We did Lego fidget spinners when they were all the rage and had a big turnout for that. We had to buy extra specialty pieces for that, which is easy to do as all Lego pieces have a specific item number (I recommend BrickLink).
I may try adding building challenge element when we start again (build the tallest tower in the shortest amount of time; write a message in Lego code; Lego self portrait or build your name...)
A few more pictures: