American Girl Doll Lending Program

I am very excited to announce that it has been almost two months since my American Girl Doll program went live! This has been a dream program of mine since I started in the library world, and my current boss made it a reality when she gave me the thumbs up to purchase all the dolls. We were able to buy 7 of the 8 Beforever Historical Dolls. Addy was backordered in December and I had to use 2014’s budget to get the dolls. We¬† made a mental note to purchase her in 2015. I was like a kid on Christmas Day when all the dolls arrived.

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On December 20, 2014, at my Samantha’s Victorian Christmas Tea Party, we officially announced that all the dolls will be available for checkout. I was immediately bombarded by little girls asking when and how they could get the dolls. Unfortunately, it took me a good three weeks before they were ready.

10462863_745489288833454_5794966194288602524_nIt took me 2 1/5 full work days to get these dolls ready for circulation. I created a detailed binder with LOTS of pictures. I itemized everything that came each doll, pictures of each doll, and pictures of what came in their carrying cases. This has come in very handy.
Here is a picture of Kit with everything she comes with when she is checked out.

10961810_574998867147_680062504_nI made sure to include a journal with each doll. The inside of every journal includes how to take care of their dolls and the policies for taking them home.

My last step was to create a place where children and adults could find the dolls. I made this handy dandy bucket. Every doll comes with her own paddle. A patron simply takes the paddle to our circulation desk and they receive their doll.

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I can officially say this service is a HUGE SUCCESS! The dolls are NEVER in and we have constant phone calls from adults inquiring if the dolls are available. I even had one woman run into the library without a coat in 17 degree weather. She saw that two dolls were available and she didn’t want to miss her chance to get one.

I do have a few quick suggestions for libraries interested in starting their own American Girl Doll Lending Program:

  • Ease in slowly with dolls. I felt a bit overwhelmed trying to handle and check all 7 dolls. I almost wish that I would have started with 2 and then introduced another 2 this month and so forth. However, I then wouldn’t have all my rocking stats!
  • Realize that dolls with curls are going to be the bane of your existence. I spend at least 30 minutes to an hour redoing Caroline’s curls.
  • Really examine the dolls. I thought that a patron had cut one of the doll’s hair until we realized that the shorter hair (it was in between the longer strands) was too perfectly cut to be done by a child. My assistant director called her sister-in-law who confirmed that her doll also had the same thing.

Feel free to contact me if you would like more information!