CAMDEN—A LEGO miniature replica of the Camden Public Library is currently on exhibit at, you guessed it, the Camden Public Library.
This elaborate set piece, built by Maine native Colby Adolphsen, took approximately seven weeks to construct.
As a father of two small boys, living in Waldoboro, Adolphsen said, “I felt a strong nostalgia after playing with LEGOs as a kid, and in the last couple of years, I’ve gone back to it, building replicas after my kids go to bed.”
The library underwent a major expansion in 1996. Having grown up in the area, Adolphsen visited it often with his family. For the design, he worked off photos he’d taken and scenes from his memory.
Since there isn’t a LEGO kit for the Camden Public Library. he had to sort through thousands of pieces from other kits and bulk purchases and buy pieces from secondhand sellers to construct hard-to-build sections such as the library’s exterior, including the Brick Garden, the circular bench of the Children’s Garden, and the Rotunda.
“As I’d build certain areas, sometimes they didn’t look right, so I kept working at it until I felt it was a good representation,” he said. “And obviously with LEGOs, you can’t get every detail completely correct, but I wanted to get the main parts of it down so that they were instantly recognizable.”
If the detail on the outside of the library is impressive, people will be delighted to see the interior work he put into the build. Each section of the library on both floors has been painstakingly recreated, down to the tiny red chairs. He has several librarians checking out books for patrons at the desks as well as tiny library patrons at the computer stations.
“The interior of the library was the first big interior build-out I’ve ever done,” he said, noting, he used a special LEGO lighting kit to illuminate the inside.
This fall, he contacted library director Nikki Maounis to inquire whether the library might be interested in featuring his LEGO replica.
“I thought it was amazing,” said Maounis of his work. “I just couldn’t believe the amount of time he put into it. People just stare at it and they just discover new things everywhere they look. All of a sudden you’ll hear someone say ‘Oh my Gosh!’
Adolphsen has built other miniature replicas of iconic landmarks in the Midcoast, such as the Rockland Breakwater, as well as a section of the Marshall Point Lighthouse.
He stores his replicas in his home office, but admitted he’s running out of room. Though he’s been asked about selling his replicas, he said it would take some work to figure out how to price them.
For Adolphsen, they’ve been more than just a hobby, particularly through the pandemic.
“When I’m in the middle of doing one of these projects, I get in the zone,” he said. “I’ve taken something apart three times. Hours can go by and I won’t even realize it.”
His LEGO library has made people feel like kids again as they observe every scene inside and out. “I just build pieces that are fun for me, but I’ve been blown away by the positive response to them,” he said. “It validated for me it’s really nice to build something that resonated with people who live here in the Midcoast.”
To see more of Adolphsen’s LEGO replicas visit: https://www.instagram.com/chorangebricks
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
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