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.
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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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