HENNEPIN — Local librarian Paula Taylor is an avid Lego aficionado. Having previously completed many impressive builds, she decided last year to build a creation of her own design.
An interesting option for Lego enthusiasts is the company offers builders a chance to see their original designs become mass produced. It’s no easy task, but with the support of friends, family, fellow builders and, hopefully, the residents of Putnam County, there’s a chance Taylor will succeed on her first attempt.
Being a librarian, Taylor found her inspiration in philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s favorite and best known work — libraries. With the massive fortune from his steel empire, Carnegie used much of his wealth to build more than 2,500 public libraries from 1881 until his death in 1919.
“I drew inspiration from two different Carnegie libraries, each with its own architectural details that I liked, like the cornerstones, pillars and window configuration. I also wanted to include things you’d find in a modern library because libraries have evolved a lot,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s Carnegie style library is built on a 32x32 inch base plate and is constructed from more than 1,600 pieces. From the concept to the completed project, Taylor spent a year constructing her creation. Full of details, the little library is an accurate rendition inside and out.
The grounds are landscaped and feature a fountain, flowers, flag, bench, tree, trash can (with a banana inside) and patrons. Going inside through the double glass doors, the accuracy continues.
Book shelves, computer terminals, meeting room, book drop, snack kiosk with coffee, reading lamp, tables, chairs, clock, newspapers and of course, librarians and patrons, are all details which you’d find in any library. There’s one more simple creative detail that sets this design apart and endears itself to anyone who knows and loves libraries; Dewey, the famous library cat.
Dewey, for those unaware of his story, was a stray kitten who was found almost frozen to death on the coldest morning of the year inside the overnight book drop by a librarian in Spencer, Iowa. The librarians decided to keep him and named him in honor of the Dewey decimal system. He soon became a beloved fixture of the town and library. His story brought him worldwide fame and he’s been featured in a documentary and several books. In Taylor’s library, he’s upstairs and appears to be preparing to make the leap onto the top of the bookshelves.
The program Taylor has submitted her creation to is called Lego Ideas. It can be found online at https://ideas.lego.com. Search for Carnegie, library to find photos and her design description. With a few simple steps, viewers are able to officially support her project. She has one year from submission to receive 1,000 supporters. Once that goal is met, Taylor will receive an additional six months to reach 5,000 supporters. Reaching that goal will earn another six months to reach to ultimate goal of 10,000. Once projects reach that level, the project is considered for production.
If selected, Taylor would give input to the professional Lego designers, whose job it is to create the final set based on the original build. Once complete, it would go to the factory and then be shipped around the world and released for sale. Taylor would be featured in set materials, receive royalties on sales and receive recognition as the product creator. Supporters will be able to own the Lego set they helped make happen on Lego Ideas.
“If it doesn’t reach the goals, I’ll be OK, it’s my first project,” said Taylor.
She’s already preparing for her next build, but offered no clues as to what it will be.
“I’m going to take a different approach though. With this one I bought a multi-colored kit and just started building. I ordered as need be, whereas with this next one I’m graphing it out on graph paper so I’ll know exactly how many pieces will be in it,” said Taylor.
Currently, Taylor has 117 supporters and 345 days left to gather her supporters. If everyone within Putnam County lends her their support, Taylor will have secured a good portion of what she needs to succeed in sharing her appreciation of both libraries and Legos.