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.
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.
It 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.
I 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.
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!