18 February 2009

Libraries May Ban Children

"I don't trust a man who makes toys in a land where children are forbidden."

The Enquirer reports that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will force libraries to either test their children's book collections for lead, or destroy them. Testing can cost $300-$600 per book, and Hamilton County's library system has 1.2 million children's books. Neither choice is really an option for cash-strapped libraries, so the only remaining compliance path would be to simply ban children under 12 from entering.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes (pg 4) that they are "not aware of a single documented case" of an ordinary children's book printed after 1985 having a dangerous amount of lead. CPSC has told libraries that they will delay enforcement for a year while they try to make some kind of sense out of the new rules.

I don't think that's possible.

Our society stands to suffer much greater harm from the ban than the scare. Imagine an entire generation of kids forbidden from discovering the magic of books and the dizzying opportunities offered by libraries. It's too stupid to contemplate.

One snide commenter on the Enquirer story said, "let's just outlaw children under 12, that way Congress could solve all of our problems with one simple law." Apparently, that's the plan. No wonder Congress' approval ratings are approaching single digits.


k said...

i grew up on books from the public library and as far as i know, no heavy metal toxicity.

5chw4r7z said...

This is so ridiculous, another story I read, one segment of industry that was weathering the current economy was ATV's and motorized bikes for kids. They just were gutted, a profitable 100 million dollar industry shut down.
How many kids will be putting books or bike parts in their mouth?

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when politicians pass laws they don't read.

Don't worry -- I'm sure there's a provision in Obama's "stimulus" plan that will pay for all that testing...

Welcome to the new America.

dave said...

This was talked (and laughed) about in the library's board meeting this month.


The reaction from the board members seemed to me to be that there was very little likelihood that libraries will end up having to do anything radical. The expectation seems to be that something will change in the next year to render the ban inapplicable in libraries. Certainly no plans were discussed in the board meeting to actually do anything about it.

DP said...

For Anonymous' sake - the bill passed the House 407-0 and the Senate 79-13. Is this what we should expect when the two parties decide to work together?

So does this mean that when the library throws away all the old books, they have to take them to the hazmat drop-off. Surely you can't just put all that toxic stuff in a normal landfill. It could leach into the groundwater or some endangered bird could eat it.