Endangered Series #3: American Girl
Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.
An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.
I feel like I’m opening a can of worms with the latest Endangered Series candidate…
American Girl (original series) by various authors
Did you know there’s an American Girl war going on? Oh yes, it’s happening. As The Atlantic points out in their article American Girl Dolls Aren’t Radical Anymore, there’s the original series (see above) which wasn’t afraid to tackle some big issues in American history (slavery, The Great Depression), and then there’s the recent reboot, which focuses on more modern time periods and, well, smaller issues.
The Case for Keeping:
Strong female characters, often persevering through difficult times in history.
The Case for Not:
The originals definitely have a dated look now, and the dolls on which they are based have evolved – some have been “archived”, meaning they aren’t around as much. So if the books were popular because of the dolls – what happens when the dolls change?
You can still purchase the original series, with updated covers:
We had duplicates (or triplicates) of just about every original book – that speaks to how popular they were during their heyday – but have weeded things down. Now we have one copy of each original book, and continue to add the more popular reboot books.
How are you handing this series in your library?
Filed under: Endangered Series
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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