Monday, February 16, 2009

Censorship 2.0?

A tip of the "hat" to Karen and Mary Jo for noticing a particularly creative approach to book burning (which originated in Ephesus, circa 55 A.D. as a way for Christian converts to make a clean break with their past idolatry). Actually, it's more than book burning. But libraries (not to mention used bookstores) will be the most affected by the provisions of “The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008”which went into effect, unnoticed, on Feb. 10. The focus of the Act is any object intended for use by children.
It's a liability bonanza for any lawyers or groups that can win monetary awards against any offending institution if they can prove that children have been exposed to books printed before 1985.
I kid you not.
The American Library Association is taking this very seriously. According to their website:
"...the Association of American Publishers (AAP) have tested the components of books and found that the levels of lead in children’s books were far below the future legal requirements at the full implementation of the regulations three years from now. However, the advisory opinion from the CPSC says that not only must the testing be done by one of their certified labs but that this legislation also is retroactive, and every book must be tested. This situation will become even more complicated because the CPSC has not certified any labs to administer the lead testing."
(Books are to be held to the same testing standards as toys.)
The ALA is fighting this very hard; not to have books exempted from the "safety" prescriptions, but to have libraries exempted. (After all, very few children have been known to gnaw on old library books!)


Anonymous said...

(And, I thought it was the library paste that we had to worry about) my little French mamma would say, 'incroyable', maybe
'invraisemblable' or possibly
'dément', or 'inouï'. Wouldn't it just be easier to design reading gloves, than get rid of all those books? (Our community 'One Great Read' program was 'Fahrenheit..' by Ray Bradbury, the year before last.

mary montgomery aka greatgranmary said...

There are teeth marks on everyone of the childrens books I own---can't tell if the kids or the dog put them there, or both. But I am looking for signs of mental changes in all my progeny! And the dog.