Thursday, September 03, 2009

CPSIA and children's books

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) seems to make it illegal for libraries to make Children's books available to children until the books have been tested for lead. The American Library Association has issued a "dispatch" or update on the CPSIA. According to the ALA statement:
On August 26, 2009, the CPSC’s final rule on children’s products containing lead was released. In the rule, CPSC confirmed that libraries have no independent obligation to test library books for lead under the law. CPSC also announced its intention to release a Statement of Policy specifically providing guidance for libraries with regard to the treatment of older children’s books that could potentially contain lead.
This statement is almost meaningless. Just because "libraries have no independent obligation to test library books for lead" does not mean it will be legal to make untested books available to children.

As a librarian I am, of course, very interested in the outcome of this issue. It may be that newer children's books will come with lead-free guarantees some day, but that older children's books will have to be tested or discarded. The result would be that older childrens' books which generally express more traditional values would be effectively "censored" from library collections under the guise of consumer protection since libraries are not likely to pay for lead testing for all of their older children's books.

This is your nanny state at work.

1 comment:

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