Blogger Lisa Taylor

Stuffed animals in the library – Poll results

Stuffed Animals in the Library: 😀 or 😝

Many of us have stuffed animals in our public spaces. However, no one talks about the “yuck” factor. If you do a quick search of the ALSC Blog archives, you will come up with 14 blog posts mentioning stuffed animals.  Most posts featured ways to use stuffed animals in programming. In one post,  the Intellectual Freedom Committee discussed the negative factors of commercially “branded” stuffed animals. 

So, last month, I posed the question,

Stuffed animals in the library: Love ’em? or Hate ’em?

The choices were narrow:

  • Love ’em! Imagination, creativity, cooperative play! They spark them all!
  • Hate ’em! Dust, germs, seeds of disagreement! They carry them all!

One hundred twenty-five of you were kind enough to offer your opinion.

And the winner was:

Love ’em! (58%,  72 votes)







Hate ’em! (42%, 53 votes) 






Now that the poll is over, I admit that I am in the “hate ’em” column, and I was surprised by the vote turnout.  I love imaginative play with blocks, trucks, tea sets, kitchen playthings, and other washable toys—but stuffed animals? Not so much.  They collect an enormous amount of dust and other allergens, as well as germs.  Additionally, there is a very real possibility that they could harbor lice, bed bugs, or other living creatures. Finally, they cannot be easily cleaned.

Several people provided thoughtful comments on the poll. One respondent used a “Bug Zapper” on her animals to ensure they were bedbug-free.  Two people mentioned washing or cleaning the animals, but I don’t know of any efficient, effective way to do this. (Suggestions welcome!)

I thought Travis Ann’s comment of May 16, was useful and practical.

Yes to stuffed animals, but I weed them in the same way I do the books.

That doesn’t totally take out the “yuck” factor, but it helps.  Thanks to all who participated.


Photo credits:
  • lauramusikanski MorgueFile
  • Max Braun – 60 Jahre Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte, CC BY-SA 2.0,


  1. Anne Clark

    We use only the giant stuffed animals (I believe ours are Melissa and Doug) and they are placed on top of the shelves. They each wear a lanyard that says they are for decoration only and not to be played with. They do make the room look more welcoming . We decorate them for summer reading program and seasonally as well. They also each have names and we document their “lives” on our Facebook page.

    We do have puppets out on the floor and those I wash occasionally (we have a washer and dryer in the library building.) We have 3-4 out on the floor to play with at any time and we also circulate puppets.

    1. Lisa

      A washer and dryer in the library building! So jealous!! 🙂

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