Check it out: Library starts lending dolls

Arlington County Library - Four of the eight American Girl dolls (from left, Cecile, Marie-Grace, Molly and Julie) that can be borrowed from the Cherrydale Library in Arlington County.

Saving for an American Girl doll might take months or even a year. But now there’s a way for local kids to bring one home without paying the $110 price tag. Beginning this month, anyone with an Arlington County library card can sign up to borrow one of eight dolls for a week.

“They’re really expensive,” said Julia Karell, branch manager at the Cherrydale Library. “I hear kids talking about the dolls, and the parents say, ‘No way.’ ”

(Arlington County Libraries) - Cecile is a free African American girl from 1853 New Orleans.

Gallery of the Week

BETHESDA, MD- APRIL 9:
Kids winner of Peeps contest. Six kids from this Bethesda neighborhood collaborated on the 'What Does the Peep Say?' diorama, a parody on the YouTube sensation 'What Does the Fox Say?'.
Left to right:  Zachary White (9), Zoe White (11), Caroline Roberts-Gaal (12), Lauren Gates (13), Hugo Byrne (9), Zeke White (9).
(Photo by Rebecca Drobis/ For the Washington Post)

Best of Peeps 2014

The Winter Olympics, ‘Frozen’ and ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ inspired young diorama makers.

Latest KidsPost Stories

What does the 2014 Peeps Contest winner say?

What does the 2014 Peeps Contest winner say?

The winners of our annual competition found inspiration in an online video that went viral.

The Nationals win over a die-hard Red Sox fan

The Nationals win over a die-hard Red Sox fan

Fred Bowen grew up in Massachusetts, but after years in Washington, he’s switching teams.

Chimps in a Missouri zoo figure out how to escape

Chimps in a Missouri zoo figure out how to escape

Smart problem-solving skills won them an hour of freedom — and some extra food treats.

London cafe offers coffee, tea and cats

London cafe offers coffee, tea and cats

New cafe provides animal companionship for those who don’t have space or time for pets.

Karell said she and other Arlington librarians recently read about a New York City library that was lending one of the dolls in American Girl’s historical series and thought the idea would be popular in Arlington.

The Friends of the Arlington Public Library bought eight dolls: Josefina (whose character is from 1824), Marie-Grace and Cecile (1853), Addy (1864), Rebecca (1914), Molly (1944), and Julie and Ivy (1974). Librarians then created a kit that would accompany each doll: an American Girl book, a card with Arlington history related to the time period and a borrowers’ journal.

“We thought it would be a good community-building experience,” Karell said. “Girls could share the experiences they had with the dolls.”

Youth service librarians will be in charge of the dolls and will clean them between borrowings. As with books, wear and tear on the dolls is expected over time, Karell said.

“I think that we’re depending on the public to take care of the dolls,” she said. “We understand that it’s mostly kids who are going to be checking them out.”

The lending program begins this week, but there’s already a waiting list of more than 60 people for some of the dolls. You can get your name on the list for a doll the same way you would for a popular book.

Karell said the library has just received additional money for the program and plans to buy more dolls. She said the library staff also hopes that community members will eventually donate dolls that are no longer played with.

“We don’t want it to be such a long time to wait for the dolls that it would be discouraging,” Karell said.

News of the lending program has prompted some library patrons to check out the books, which the library has had in its collection for years.

“Our whole goal is to get people into the library,” Karell said. “This is a way to connect kids with books and with history.”

READ MORE: Library events celebrate American Girl dolls

— Christina Barron

 
Read what others are saying