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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
In the late afternoon, it’s rare for the Wellesley Free Library’s children’s librarians to have an idle moment. Children buzz around the library, pulling out books from the shelves and flipping through the pages, meeting with friends to collaborate on homework, and eagerly rushing to the circulation desk to check out items. Such excitement only seems to grow around the holidays.
As one of the librarians walked towards the circulation desk, two boys ran past her.
“No running,” she reminded them, before turning her attention to a waiting patron.
The boys, slowing their pace to a brisk walk, approached the display in the back of the room. They kneeled on the lounge chairs closest to the table and stared at it with wonder and fascination. The librarian announced that she would turn on the display, the LEGO Winter Village, in just a few minutes. Moments later, a crowd gathered around the boys.
Soon, Annie, one of the children’s librarians joined the crowd with a small remote in hand. She pulled back the small rope gates and children swarmed around the table, waiting for the big moment.
With just the press of a button, the LEGO village came to life; the train raced around the perimeter of the village, and a Star Wars battleship spun in circles.
To those who visited the LEGO display last year, it was clear that its creator, Nick Tatar, has made some tweaks and additions to it.
Tatar, an Olin College graduate and now the assistant dean of student life, began the village about 10 years ago, when his own children expressed an interest in LEGOs. Because the library pays a small fee to have the village on display, Tatar puts that income back into the display, making it larger and more detailed each year.
A large blue river splits the scenes on the table, but there is still plenty to look at. The LEGO Winter Village offers decorations for people of all ages, including half-timbered houses, a gingerbread house, Wellesley’s Sprague Clock Tower, Needham Town Hall, and an array of both holiday and Star Wars decorations.
Tatar even provides the library with an “I Spy” game, challenging children to find four Santa Clauses working in the village, a handful of snowy owls and penguins, the mountaineers and their runaway snowball, along with many other details that may be difficult to spot right away.
This year’s displaying of LEGO village proved, just as last year’s did, that there is an endless fascination with the plastic brick world.
As delighted members of the community crowded around the display, their appreciation was clear - as were their hopes to see an even larger display next year.