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NPL Helps Build the Future with LEGO

February 21, 2020

Library Celebrates Nashville’s Creations at 10th Anniversary Contest

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  • LEGO helps people build STEAM skills through fun, creative play.
  • Nearly 250 contestants participated in the library’s 10th Anniversary LEGO contest last Saturday.
  • NPL has year-round LEGO programs at multiple locations.

If we want to build a better future for humanity, we should start with LEGO.

That’s the conclusion that many scientists, researchers, and child development specialists around the globe have come to. For them, LEGO is the ideal way to get more people vested in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM).

For more than 70 years, LEGO has equipped people young and old to explore concepts in STEAM as they unleash their creativity. Children learn best through play, and LEGO gives them the perfect outlet to do that.

“Instead of telling kids why abstract concepts like algebra or trigonometry are important, science teachers should say, ‘Let’s build a LEGO robot!’” said Dean Kamen, an engineer and inventor of the Segway, in an interview with Smithsonian magazine. “With a little assistance, the kids build one and it solves a problem. Suddenly, they realize that math and science are very powerful tools. Suddenly, math and science are relevant and fun.”

In a time where the world needs more people skilled in STEAM, colorful blocks might just be the answer to creating the dreamers who will shape the future.

It’s an idea that Nashville Public Library (NPL) embraces wholeheartedly.

Celebrating Nashville’s Creativity

Each year, NPL hosts its LEGO Contest to give Nashville the chance to dream, build, and display their creations for all to admire.

“Patrons came up to us telling us how much they love the yearly tradition of the LEGO Contest, and how much it inspires their children’s creativity. Some children are already hard at work on next year’s creation!” said Pat Bashir, manager of the Children’s Library at NPL’s Main Library. 
The annual competition draws hundreds of children, teens, and adults to enter the competition, with creations ranging from rural landscapes to robots, sporting events to family pets, and everything in between. No matter what theme contestants choose, the results are always rousing.

The 10th annual contest, held last Saturday at the Main Library, was no exception. There were 247 entries in the categories of Preschool - K, grades 1 - 2, grades 3 - 4, grades 5 - 7, grades 8 - 12, and adults. In each category, a first place, runner-up, third place, and crowd favorite entry is chosen, as well as a few honorable mentions. More than 400 people submitted their nominations for this year’s crowd favorites.

Messer Construction Co., which sponsored this year's contest, also selected winners for the Messer Construction Building Awards.

“Messer is dedicated to giving back to the community, and we are so appreciative of the partnership we’ve built with Nashville Public Library both professionally and philanthropically through the last five years. Our team had a great time highlighting the best constructed entries with the Construction Superlative awards and interacting with the future builders of tomorrow,” said Tom Lampe, vice president and Nashville region leader for Messer Construction Co.

Following are the winners from this year’s competition.

Preschool - Kindergarten (56 Entries)

1st Place: “Attack of the Giant Rainbow Cameleons” by James D.

2nd Place: “Ocean Adventure” by Forrest B.

3rd Place: Jonas H. by Jonas H.

Crowd Favorite: “Noahville” by Noah H.

Honorable Mentions

  • Best Night’s Sleep: “Bed with Pillow” by Willem R.
  • Best Downtown Building: “Batman Building” by Bodhi J.
  • Best Story: “Rescue! Princess House on Fire” by Evie S.
  • Best Stingray: “Kingdom of Stingrays” by David H.

First - Second Grade (53 Entries)

1st Place: “Museum” by John C.

2nd Place: “‘Koala-Tea’ Time” by Reed B.

3rd Place and Crowd Favorite: “Space Invasion - NASA” by Rainn D. and Noah Z.

Honorable Mentions

  • Best Special Effects: “Volcano” by Carter B.
  • Best Underwater Scene: “Skeleton Pirate Attack on a Minecraft Transport Boat” by Matthew S.
  • Best Mythical Scene: “Mmm, Tasty People” by Caleb J.
  • Most Tender: “‘Koala-Tea’ Time” by Reed B.
  • Best Recreation of an Ice Cream Stand: “Joney’s Dairy Dip” by Jonas R.

Third - Fourth Grade (58 Entries)

1st Place: “Martio and Yoshi” by Joseph L.

2nd Place and Crowd Favorite: “The Pokémon Battle Stadium” by Ben S.

3rd Place: “This is the Way” by Henry W. 

Honorable Mentions

  • Most Likely to be Played With: “Attack on Fort LEGO” by Miles T.
  • Best Kinetic Action Scene: “The Johnstown Flood” by Shen R.
  • Best Original Concept: “The Multicolor Megabrick” by Greyson M.
  • Best Title: “Dinosaurs Before Daybreak in the Avengers’ Tower Stealing Mysterio’s Stones” by Cajetan L.

Fifth - Seventh Grade (53 Entries)

1st Place and Crowd Favorite: “The Narrow Escape” by Nahum R.

2nd Place: “The Nashville Dream” by Brennan B.

3rd Place: “The Lava Dragon” by Tim S.

Honorable Mentions

  • Funniest: “Ditto” by Kellen H.
  • Best Architecture: “Skull Castle” by Elliot E.
  • Most Uplifting: “Woolworth’s … 60 Years Later” by Andrew R. and Caleb R.
  • Most Complex: “A Useless Box???” by Taylor S.
  • Most Engaging: “Find Freddy” by Elijah G.

Eight - 12th Grade (13 Entries)

1st Place: “Shieldmaiden: Éowyn vs. Nazgûl” by Sydney S.

2nd Place: “Wisteria Mill” by Elias R.

3rd Place: “Edge of Nowhere” by Calvin M. and Joe C.

Crowd Favorite: “The LEGO Gumball Machine” by Sam S.

Honorable Mentions

  • Consider a Career in the Arts Award: “Shieldmaiden: Éowyn vs. Nazgûl” by Sydney S.
  • Best Design: “Wisteria Mill” by Elias R.
  • Most Cinematic: “Edge of Nowhere” by Calvin M. and Joe C.
  • Best Sandwich: “Dragon Dreaming” by Kingston T.

Adults (14 Entries)

1st Place: “Lost LEGO Memorial Tower” by Heather H.

2nd Place: “Battle of the Somme” by Colin M.

3rd Place and Crowd Favorite: “Woosterville” by Kerry Woo

Honorable Mentions

  • Best Use of Irony: “Grumpy Cat” by Kristen A. and Son
  • Most Fun in LEGOland: “Battleship: ‘B6’ ‘Hit’” by Ruth B.
  • Best Display of Human Spirit: “#chosen” by Laura W. and Jameson W.
  • Best Dark Sense of Humor: “The Five Gateways of Grieving” by Benjamin S.
  • Best Narrative: “The Fate of the Ripley” Riley W.

Messer Construction Building Awards

Pre-K: “The Awesome Pulley Garage” by Samuel H.

First - Second Grade: “Space Invasion - NASA” by Rainn D. and Noah Z.

Third - Fourth Grade: “Mario and Yoshi” by Joseph L.

Fifth - Seventh Grade: “Stark Mansion” by Liam S.

Eighth - 12th Grade: “This is Not a Drill” by Nathaniel H.

Adult: “Woosterville” by Kerry W.

NPL would like to thank Messer Construction Co. for sponsoring this year’s LEGO Contest, and for the support of Mr. Bond’s Science Guys, Camp Brick, and the Nashville Public Library Foundation in making the event possible.

“Messer is dedicated to giving back to the community, and we are so appreciative of the partnership we’ve built with Nashville Public Library both professionally and philanthropically through the last five years. Our team had a great time highlighting the best constructed entries with the Construction Superlative awards and interacting with the future builders of tomorrow,” said Tom Lampe, vice president and Nashville region leader for Messer Construction Co.

Building with Blocks at the Library

You don’t have to wait until next year’s contest to start unlocking your potential with LEGO at NPL.

Across the library system, NPL hosts LEGO workshops that equip visitors to create to their heart's content. These events are free, and LEGO bricks are provided — all you need to bring is your imagination.

Check the library’s events calendar to find a LEGO event at your nearest location.

Wizard avatar

Ed Brown

Ed's a proud member of NPL's Marketing and Communications team. Some of his favorite books include Dracula, Once an EagleNeuromancerStarship TroopersThe Black CompanyBerserkBlade of the ImmortalBlame! and Vampire Hunter D. When not at the Library, you'll find him spending time with his wife and son, doing interval training, reading, or waiting for the next FromSoftware game.