Pricing the priceless

For decades, the walls of the downstairs landing in Kendall Young Library have been adorned with a collection of 170 dolls. The collection is an ongoing feature of the library, but the exact value of the collection is unknown.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Kendall Young Library Board of Trustees, Library Director Angie Martin-Schwarze said she had made contact with an appraiser. Martin-Schwarze said that she contacted several doll shows in Iowa over the summer and was eventually directed to Lana Norlin of Marshalltown. At a charge of $3 for each doll, Norlin can give an appraisal of the collection which would cost the library a total of $510.

According to the Kendall Young Library website, the Foster Doll Collection was donated to the library in 1944 by Arch Foster after his wife, Evelyn, died. She collected the dolls during the last 15 years of her life. The collection contains frozen charlottes, dolls from the Kate Greenaway series, waxed head dolls, paper-mache dolls and parian dolls. Norlin’s expertice goes from the 1840 to 1950. That’s slightly past the oldest doll in the collection, a waxed head doll, which dates back to 1800. Several board members, including President Mark Dohms, said the supported having the dolls appraised.

“We’d certainly have a better idea,” Dohms said. “Some of these may have appreciated in value since Mrs. Foster gave them.”

“We are responsible for it and we have nothing on what the value is,” Board Secretary Mike Hames said.

Currently, the dolls are not factored into the library’s audits. Martin-Schwarze said she also asked Norlin if she would be interested in hosting a program at the library, and Norlin said she would be interested in hosting a public appraisal. Board Gifts Chairman Dick Anderson said he had also made contact with an appraiser for the Native American Collection at the library, which is currently housed in the children’s section.

In other business, the board discussed the new Teen Lounge program, hosted at the library on Mondays through Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. after school. The program has seen 57 students since it began last week.

“The teens seem excited,” Martin-Schwarze said. “They’re doing all kinds of things, homework, hanging out, listening to music.”

The library is also preparing for a presentation from Murray McMurray Hatchery tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. At the program, Bud Wood will discuss the joys and trials of having a backyard chicken coup.