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Since January 2015, the Allegheny County (Pa.) Library Association has allowed children to check out American Girl dolls, along with educational pamphlets about the time period they represent. The dolls come with clothes, hairbrushes, books, a carrying case and a journal where users can write about their experiences with the dolls.
At public libraries we spend an awful lot of time celebrating the holidays and happy parts of life (as we should): Halloween parties, Valentine's crafts, Thanksgiving storytime, book launches, STEM programs. These are all exciting and essential services. But what about the needs of our patrons that are sometimes a bit messier, a bit more hidden from public view, a bit less Hallmark-card sweet and a bit more nitty-gritty reality?