Notes from the Black Lagoon

African Wrap Dolls

Posted on: February 21, 2008

At the TPL, we have what we like to call “a rhythm” to our year in the Children’s Room. Summer is the height of it: the busiest, most fun, and most exhausting time. Fall slows down as kids go back to school and we get back to doing other library work. After the holidays, it’s usually dead until things pick up in the spring. It’s so predictable and reassuring, it’s nearly like our own little seasonal cycle that creates the perfect balance between patron services and the behind-the-scenes work we do. However, February school vacation marks the one HORRID interruption of our near-perfect system. That’s right….for one week, the entire city seems to congregate at the library and they all have a project due when they get back to school!!!

And so, I have gotten nothing done this week…including blogging. I did want to talk about one kick-butt program we did for kids of all ages yesterday. If you’re a librarian in the southeastern region of MA, listen up! Doll E Daze is a fantastic organization based in Mansfield, MA that promotes cultural diversity and dialog through their amazing African Wrap Doll Workshop. The women who run Doll E Daze are all black doll collectors and focus on the history of black dolls and African-American history in the U.S.. Debra Britt and her family not only collect these dolls, but also run workshops for libraries and schools on how to make African Wrap Dolls. In celebration of black history month, we had this program at the library yesterday and it was a huge success!! Debra is an amazing speaker who draws on her own experiences of loneliness as a child growing up in the racially-charged atmosphere of 1960’s Boston to tell the tale of doll-making. Every child and adult who attended the program made his or her own wrap doll with materials provided by Doll E Daze.

Debra entertains the gang and makes them laugh Dolls made by the Doll E Daze Ladies

We had over 80 people crammed into our auditorium and actually ran out of seats! The ladies from Doll E Daze did a fantastic job and even vacuumed the room when they were done. I can’t recommend this program enough!


1 Response to "African Wrap Dolls"

Ut Oh! Here’s a word of advice from a voice from the beyond. Never verbalize in voice or print anything along the lines of “it’s usually dead until things pick up in the spring” because dollars to donuts you’ll jinx yourself and have some kind of head on stampede whirling through the Children’s Room from now until the first crocus pushes its little head above ground. Where Children’s Services are concerned nothing is ever predictable!

As for Doll E Daze it’s not only a wonderful program; it’s a program that people never seem to get tired of. I’m not quite sure how many years in a row this is for the Britt sisters here, I’m thinking 4 or 5, but each year the turnout is bigger than the year before. It’s a sure fire attendance magnet and great fun!

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