Keeping Dolls Healthy and Beautiful
In March 2013, Library started an innovative program to make the library (and reading) more fun and accessible to young readers.
The American Girl Lending Program has made American Girl doll kits available for 1-week checkout; each kit contains an American Girl historical doll, the associated “Meet [the doll]” book, an Arlington County historical fact sheet, a journal, and a carrying case. Young readers play with the doll while reading her book, learn about life in Arlington County during the time period covered in the book, and share the doll’s adventures by writing in her journal.
American Girl Doll Maintenance at Central Library
Function: Take care of American Girl dolls
Current number of volunteers: 2
Hours: 1 hour/week
Special Skills: Must love dolls
The American Girl doll program has been very successful.
The number of kits has grown from 30 to 60 in less than a year, and readership of the American Girl doll books has grown in tandem; in fact, even with 60 kits, the books routinely are on hold for other readers. The program is expanding to include other activities, such as LEGO® kits and books. In addition, eight other library systems from across the country have contacted the Arlington County Library System for help in starting American Girl doll programs.
According to Anne Womack, Collection Development Librarian at Central, American Girl doll volunteers are critical to the success of this program.
The volunteers maintain the doll kits, so that each reader can receive a like-new doll. When a kit is returned, volunteers use special “American Girl doll” brushes and picks to brush out and re-style the doll’s hair. They also clean the doll’s face and hands, and inventory the kit to make sure nothing is missing or broken. Finally, they photocopy the journal entries, so that these accounts eventually can be posted to the Library’s blog. Once this work is completed, the kit is ready for its next recipient and the fun continues. Anne noted that readers and volunteers have taken such good care of the dolls, that no doll has been broken. But if one ever is, she can be admitted to the American Girl Doll Hospital for care!
Currently, there are two American Girl doll volunteers: a mother-daughter team who work one hour each week, after school. However, Anne noted that one or two more parent-child volunteer teams would be welcome! No special skills are needed, just a love of dolls!
– by volunteer Laura West and librarian Anne Womack
Interested in becoming a Library volunteer? Check out the Current Openings on our Volunteer Page.