LAS VEGAS – The importance of play in childhood has become widely understood as a key building block to learning. Children come to understand the world through play and toys are crucial to this process.
As part of its mission to support childhood learning, development—and fun(!)—the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is establishing a new Toy Lending Program, featuring 200 dolls from the popular American Girl doll collection. The dolls cover an array of personality profiles, ethnicities, and historical back-stories. Each doll will be loaned with a book telling their life story through the character’s perspective, along with a backpack carrier for transporting them.
“We believe strongly in the benefits of learning through play,” said Rebecca Colbert, head of collections and bibliographic services for the Library District. “We have been testing our Toy Lending Program, using non-gender specific toys, at our Clark County Library branch for about 18 months and it has been very successful. The American Girl doll series is our next big investment in this program, offering kids who are not fortunate enough to own one of these dolls the chance to discover them.”
“Libraries encourage a lifelong love of reading, curiosity, and learning,” said Dr. Ronald Heezen, executive director of the Library District, “and the concept of toy lending is taking root at libraries across the country. We are proud to offer American Girl dolls and books through our new Toy Lending Program, and we hope to expand it with new offerings well into the future.”
The American Girl dolls spotlight heroic girls who lived long ago. Through all the changes that turned their worlds upside down—slavery, wartime, immigration, clashes of culture and class—they discover the things that truly matter to children of all times, like helping others, being a true friend, and standing up for what’s right.
“The books make the dolls’ personality profiles come to life and each one teaches lessons about different periods in American history,” Colbert said. “The collection is targeted to the 8 to 12 year old demographic where girls can begin to lose their self-esteem and question their role in society. The stories provide positive reinforcement that determination, intellect, and ability are attributes for all children to value.”
According to Colbert, the Library District will be introducing a diverse lineup of dolls ranging from the American Revolution through 1970s San Francisco, as well as contemporary dolls and even a boy doll. The dolls will be available at 19 out of the 25 urban and rural Library District branches. The public should check lvccld.org to find their nearest branch featuring this program.
Library cardholders can check out the dolls for three weeks at a time and renew them once before they have to be returned. Getting a free library card is easy! Just visit any Library District branch to fill out an application, or apply on the District’s website. All you need is a photo ID and proof of your current Nevada address.
Dolls are available at the following LVCCLD library branches: Clark County, Centennial Hills, Enterprise, Las Vegas, Rainbow, Sahara West, Spring Valley, Summerlin, Sunrise, West Charleston, West Las Vegas, Whitney, Windmill, Blue Diamond, Bunkerville, Mesquite, Moapa Town, Moapa Valley, Mount Charleston, Sandy Valley and Meadows.