A Doll's Story

A New York City public library lets kids borrow an American Girl doll
March 08, 2013
A New York City public library lets kids borrow Kirsten, an American Girl doll.

What good is a doll that isn't played with? That's what Thea Taube thought as she looked at the American Girl doll sitting on a shelf in her office. Taube is a children's librarian at an East Village branch of the New York Public Library. "She looked lonely," Taube told TFK. "I thought, Why not lend her out and let kids enjoy her? A book needs to be read and to go out to have value. It's the same with a doll."

Check Her Out

Taube started sharing Kirsten in 2004. Over time, word spread about the opportunity to temporarily adopt the doll. "I was 4 when I first saw her on Ms. Thea's desk," says Flora Sobrino, 11. She is one of Kirsten's caretakers.

Flora didn't take the doll home until she was older. "I was 6 when I became interested in American Girl dolls," she says. "Since I didn't have a doll of my own yet, I took Kirsten home."

Toy-sharing lets children play with something they might not be able to own. A doll like Kirsten costs $110. Many families either can't afford that or choose not to spend so much money on a toy. "Kids grow out of their toys so quickly," Taube says.

The toy-lending idea is catching on. "I had a phone call from a woman in Rhode Island who bought two dolls for her local library," says Taube. Maybe one day, Kirsten will be part of a community of well-loved dolls traveling from libraries to homes.

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