Saturday, October 22, 2016

*DISCUSSION* AG Doll Lending Programs - Yes or No

 Library Lending 


When my daughter was in kindergarten the children each had an opportunity to take Corduroy the Bear home for one weekend. My daughter always waited every week with anticipation for her turn.  

When her name was selected, she proudly brought Corduroy home and cared for him all weekend long. 
 

Was she sad on Monday morning when she had to return him? Of course! However she knew other children were eagerly waiting their turn just like she had.

Arlington Library
In several states on the east coast many libraries have adopted the doll lending program. Typically an Historical Doll is loaned out for one week along with her meet book and a journal to record all of the activities the child shared with the doll.

I attempted to implement a program like this at my local library. I was turned down on the basis of "anticipated theft". A lot of the AG books rarely are returned back to our four branch libraries either from damage, loss or theft. Since the dolls are $110, the library frowned on my urging the program. Also they have limited staff to monitor the program even with volunteers (like me). This is why I was so grateful and thrilled to host the Kirsten Event last summer. 

A lot of parents also voice concern for cleanliness of these dolls as they travel from house to house. While they raise a good point - lice, bed bugs, stains, etc. - the other side of this argument is that there are MANY buyers buying USED dolls on eBay, Craigslist, at yard sales and Goodwill. What is the "cleanliness" of these dolls?

The other valid argument is the cost. We all know these dolls are expensive and many patrons feel it is a waste of resources. However if the dolls have been DONATED there is no cost (except for their accompanying books) and what about the children whose families can not afford an American Girl doll? Wouldn't they love to have the opportunity to borrow one? 

For me, I think this boils down to MAKING MEMORIES. I am all for making wonderful memories throughout one's life, and if you have the opportunity to do that you should. If I could donate a gently used AG doll to my library where several children, who lack funds to own one, could enjoy the doll for a week, it's worth it!

I collect these dolls and I know how important my collection is to me. Every child - boy or girl - should have the opportunity to borrow Kaya, Felicity, Caroline, Josefina, Marie Grace, Cecile, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Rebecca, Kit, Molly and Julie. 

Can you imagine if YOUR library had one of EACH historical doll? That equals 13 weeks of AG books and play time.  

Her is a great article on such a program.

 I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  

17 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that all libraries should have this program. Mine has it, and I was just borrowing Molly. Ever child deserves the chance to play with a doll, regardless of their financial situation. Also, you could always include care instructions with each doll to keep it as clean as possible. Aldo, I love your blog!!!!!!

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  2. I love the idea A.G. gave out 100s of melody books when she came out this summer

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  3. Interesting, I was anticipating that this subject would emerge sooner than later. I understand the library and why they are hesitant. Trust is a big factor these days and theft is a big concern hence Willow the missing traveling doll. A parent refused to convince her daughter to return her and no amount of pleading from the LADL community helped return her. These are the times we live in. I believe that libraries have a responsibility to serve the public. Imagine a little girl like your daughter waiting to check out the doll and book and days before her turn the doll is not returned. What is the library's response to the borrower? How do they break the news to both you and your daughter? Will you get upset and if so with whom...the library or the negligent borrower? Unfortunately not all people are responsible and it is difficult to create that trust without everyone agreeing to the honor code. I have seen this first hand at children's birthday parties, school events and at sports events. People want what what is best and fair, however it is quite difficult to get everyone to play by the rules. EBay has problems with the honor code too. I paid for something that was advertised and the seller was dishonest and sent a fake item instead. No apologies for what she did, just words justifying what she did. The library has an obligation to protect the public,and I can't imagine how many disappointed girls there would be if more dishonest people lined up to take advantage of this program than honest ones. The solution...maybe you could start a program at your local school system to loan out AG dolls and books? Talk with the superintendent and parents. Most likely you would be able to better regulate and guarantee the dolls return if you know the parents and school. Hope this helps. Your heart is in the right place.

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  4. I think the program is incredible. I wish it could be available at all Libraries and the Dolls should be donated by American Girl Brand. My Daughter is 6 and She has been a customer of American Girl Brand Houston Store since She was 2. She has donated 5 Perfect American Girl Dolls to people Our Family feel would be blessed by them. It is a Miracle that we have been able afford to purchase American Girl Dolls. We did give up a lot of things we needed to make it possible. I know many Families don't have that option. This is the miracle they need. Please put the Dills on Loaner Program @americangirlbrand in all Libraries.

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  5. I live in a small town in Maine. I donated a Kit doll/book/backpack to our small library. The backpack included a journal for each child that takes out the doll to write their adventures. It was well accepted. Although there is a chance someone will not return the doll, it is still a worthwhile effort. The positives outweigh the negatives. Great for children. I loved sharing my Kit doll. Michele

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    1. One if the best parts of borrowing a doll is reading previous journal entries. It's so sweet!

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  6. I meant to say in my last sentence. Please put the Dolls on Loaner at all Libraries @americangirlbrand

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  7. Izzy had a great idea: a little fun (with pictures as not to be tossed away as unimportant) booklet on how to care for the dolls. I could argue both sides of the case, and also how easy it would be for someone to steal one of the dolls, but it would be such a wonderful opportunity for so many! I definitely wish the libraries around me did it! Even if just a few, I'd be willing to travel a little while to go!
    ~ Light4theLord
    https://dollsnall.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, thanks, Light4theLord! I do think that it would be easy to steal one of the dolls, but there's the same chance with any book, isn't there? Also, wealthy families in the area could donate dolls, or the library could hold a fundraiser and then buy used dolls. Plus, it's a good way to teach kids about history of the area using play-my library includes a little card with pictures and infirmation about what the area was like in the doll's area. That would be fun and educational!

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  8. I offered donating a doll to my local library to start up a program like this the librarian told me she was too busy to even consider it.

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    1. This a serious problem in every sector. Over worked and under paid is there response. This is even how many Teacher's feel. So sad, I think it reaches all the way up. Maybe you can keep trying. God bless You. That was a extremely thoughtful thing to do.

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    2. Anonymous, I went to our library and offered to donate Kaya, since we live close to many of the areas in her book. I was turned down.

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  9. I actually like this idea. While Ticia has many valid points, it would be a shame to not do something like this out of fear that someone might not play by the rules. I know that this is a problem everywhere these days, but it is a sad commentary on our society. Libraries are there to loan things out. They do it with books, DVD's and yes, many of them loan out puppets and stuffed animals. A lot of people do not return their books or DVD's, but would you tell the library not to loan those out anymore because there are people who don't play by the rules? Well, then I guess there would be no point to keeping the library open, would there?! Yes, there is a risk that a doll would not be returned, but I think the benefits of a program like this would far outweigh the negatives.

    Hope you can convince your library to do this!

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    1. Thanks Phyllis for seeing my point. I know this is a tough topic so I do want to offer more suggestions since we are talking about a public service. 1. Paper doll books would be a good option. The library could laminate the paper dolls and patrons could go home with that doll. 2. Mini dolls can be donated and used. They are less expensive to replace and take care of. 3. You could volunteer to wash and spruce up the doll between each use, that way you could guarantee cleanliness before the next patron checks it out again. Books have a similar process, they have to stay in workable condition so that others may feel good about borrowing it. It is the same process for borrowing a doll or any highly coveted item that is or will be well loved. Also, AG made journals for the original 3 dolls. The library should buy these and have them readily available with the doll to check out to accommodate journal entries in a new,fresh,blank journal. Until these things are considered keep your options open and consider more options.

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    2. I was thinking too that if they can't do American Girl dolls because of their cost, maybe they could loan out other, less expensive 18 inch dolls that are similar to AG such as Our Generation or My Life? I think the point is to allow little girls to be able to play with a doll that they might not do other wise. I know these don't come with the books like American Girl, but maybe a small journal could still be provided for each kid who borrows one to write down the adventures that have wit that doll.

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  10. I have heard of this idea, and like it a lot. Our library system actually has a Library of Things that they loan out - stuff like GoPros, sewing machines, musical instruments, board games, laminators, button makers - things are kind of pricey to buy but a lot of people would like to try them. The next time they ask for suggestions of what to add, I will suggest American Girl dolls. I think they might go for it.

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