Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yes! That's it! Throw a fit! Have a hairy conniption! (CPSIA)

MomtoCherubs posted the link to this MSNBC article about the effect that the CPSIA is having on library books. Or not having, depending on who's talking.

One librarian says this:
"The American Library Association said it has no estimate of how many children’s books printed before 1986 are in circulation. But typically, libraries don’t have many, because youngsters are hard on books, librarians said.

"'Frankly, most of our books have been well-used and well-appreciated,' said Rhoda Goldberg, director of the Harris County Public Library system in Houston. 'They don’t last 24 years.'”
But another librarian says this:
'Communities would have a stroke [emphasis mine] if public libraries started throwing out hundreds and hundreds of books just because they came out before a certain copyright date,' said Margaret Todd, librarian for the Los Angeles County system, which has 89 branches and about 3 million children’s books."
So which is it, almost none, or hundreds and hundreds?

And are the books "safe" or not? Nobody can agree on that, either:
"Nathan Brown, a lawyer for the library association, said libraries should not even be subject to the law. He argued that Congress never wanted to regulate books and that libraries do not sell books and thus are not subject to the consumer products law."
But the CPSC claims differently:
"CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said libraries can safely lend any children’s book printed in 1986 or later, by which time a growing body of regulations had removed lead from printer’s ink.....[but] until the testing is done, the nation’s more than 116,000 public and school libraries 'should take steps to ensure that the children aren’t accessing those books,' Wolfson said. 'Steps can be taken to put them in an area on hold until the Consumer Product Safety Commission can give further guidance.'"
(DHM, stop that hysterical laughing. It's okay, really. Just breathe into this paper bag and you'll be all right.)


Sebastian said...

I thought the article did a nice job of showing just how many different semi offical opinions there are about the potential impact of the law.
My library is moving buildings in a couple months. If they got rid of all the pre-1985 books in the children's section, there would be a lot less to move. Like maybe a quarter to a third of the chapter books would be left.

Hope said...

At my library, when I tried to express concern, they gave me the "we don't have any that old" comforting bit too. HOWEVER, when I started examining the books that my kids were bringing home . . . I found that they might just be shocked, since as DHM pointed out once, books have COPYRIGHTS often, not print dates!! I think they'd be sadly shocked to see awesome books like Richard Scarry's Big Book of Things that Go and similar books in great condition being consigned to the trash.

Hope said...

Oh, and my blog just in case anyone wants to keep tab on the rants I do now and then about CPSIA . . . . www.xanga.com/happymom4

Holly Jahangiri said...

Feel free to send me those old, rare children's books. My son just turned 13, so we no longer have any 12-and-unders in the house to be adversely affected by this asinine law.

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