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.
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.