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Help a librarian make children happy - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Help a librarian make children happy [Feb. 10th, 2015|06:25 pm]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Can you spare $10 so a child can take a doll home for a week?

This is Briony Zlomke Beckstrom, a youth services librarian from Wisconsin. She was one of the most inspirational people I met her at the American Library Association meeting in Chicago last week where I was working on the Alexandria is Still Burning documentary.

Briony started a program in her library to loan American Girl dolls to children who can't afford them, it's now one of the most popular programs they have. They have seven dolls and they're never back for more than an hour at a time before another child checks her out -- parents stake out the library waiting for them to be returned, people race across parking lots when they see someone carrying a package big enough to be one of the dolls coming back. Along with each doll comes a journal so that kids can write down the sorts of adventures that they had, sometimes they come back with new and different hairstyles, other libraries that have loaned out dolls have seen them come back with new, handmade clothes. Briony would like to add more dolls to the program, currently due to the heavy demand there aren't enough to justify letting them go out for inter-library loan (because, as Briony points out, every day they're in transit is a day that they're not with a child) -- and this is where you can help. Each doll costs $115 which is a lot for one person, but many hands make light the work.

Can you help out?


THIS is What a Librarian Looks Like


Briony and the dolls. Clickenzee to Donate!
Be sure to put "American Girl Project" in the message section.



As libraries are trying to find their place and people are wondering what libraries are doing, there are people like Briony who see things that need fixing and convince library directors and board members to go out on a limb to fix them. It's one of the things that makes me love, respect, and appreciate everything that librarians are doing. It's not just books, they're fighting for civilization.

You can Click here to donate. Be sure to put "American Girl Project" in the message section.

Can't contribute? Sharing is loving.


Listen to Briony explain the doll program:




(EDIT: I got an email from Briony late last night with a few corrections, while she started a doll program in Illinois, she was unable to get it to the point where they could loan out dolls, her current library, Franklin, is in Milwaukee and part of the Milwaukee County Consortium, the text now reflects these.)




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kdsorceress
2015-02-10 11:56 pm (UTC)
My friend kittikattie is basically an AG queen, so I have passed this along to her.

(her blog, which is well worth reading even if you *don't* care about AG, she writes great)

~Sor
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2015-02-11 05:02 am (UTC)
I'm torn.

On the one hand, the whole American Girl thing exemplifies everything that is wrong, wrong, wrong with our consumerist culture, even if they are tied to a book. The dolls are expensive, the clothes are expensive, the "American Girl Experience" is expensive.

On the other hand, it can be nice to have a treat that seemed out of reach, even if it is only for a week. And I really like the journaling that accompanies it.

And I think the dolls are creepy. But, clearly, many girls do not. Though there's a great story there, too. The creepy American Girl, one of a dozen, that shaves the dog in the middle of the night, of her rental family. She resents being loaned out... yeah. It's late and I've had too much caffeine.
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2015-02-11 05:20 am (UTC)
But I sent a link to this post to my family members whose daughter was American Girl crazed well into her teens.
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[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2015-02-11 02:24 pm (UTC)
I'm torn on this. I really dislike the whole American Girl franchise. But I understand the desire of the kids to participate, and admire the librarian in question for coming up with a way to help the kids play. I have to ponder this.
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[User Picture]From: moonchylde
2015-02-11 02:27 pm (UTC)
I think they're better than Barbies and Bratz/Monster High stuff, but I wish they had more girls in other skin tones.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-02-11 04:22 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean for sure. But I can add, as someone who grew up in a household unable to afford the status items that lots of other kids had, that I can really understand feeling left out and the overpowering sense of yearning. For me, it was the Mattel Electronic Football game, and then an Atari, and then a Walkman. I think you can tell kids "you don't want that, it's bad for you, it'll rot your brain", and you can be right, but you can't erase the very real desire to have what other people have. Plus, it means they're going to the library every week. However! There will be lots of other opportunities I'll be sharing with ways for people to help all sorts of different libraries, so if you're on the fence about this, hang on to your dollars. I'll help you put them somewhere else.
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[User Picture]From: naomikritzer
2015-02-11 09:41 pm (UTC)
I had several questions after reading this.

1. How does she keep the hair nice? My experience with doll ownership is that the hair is the first thing to get messed up; AG will actually fix and re-style the hair for some extra money but I'm curious if Doll Hair Maintenance is a budget item here?

2. Do the accessories all come back? Doll shoes are the most loss-prone things ever.

3. Is she at all interested in in-kind donations of gently used AG dolls? (What if they're missing their shoes...?)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2015-02-12 05:42 pm (UTC)
Hi Naomi -- I forwarded your questions to Briony.

I'm pretty sure that they would be interested in doll donations, I believe their first doll was a donation. If you send her a doll, I'll get new shoes for it!
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From: Briony Zlomke
2015-02-13 07:58 pm (UTC)

American Girl

Hi Naomi,

1. Our dolls' hair definitely come back loved. I spend time with each doll to maintain their hair before they are allowed to be checked out again. We are aware that there will eventually be a time that the dolls hair will need professional hair maintenance.

2.As of now, all of our accessories have come back with the dolls. We had one issue with a hair clip, but it was a manufacturer's defect and not the patron's fault.

3.We are definitely interested and greatly appreciative of in-kind donations of gently used AG dolls. We will make sure they receive the same attention as our other dolls!

Edited at 2015-02-13 08:06 pm (UTC)
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