Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kids to be Banned from Libraries

After February 10th, children under 12 could be banned from public libraries unless and until those libraries undergo expensive lead tests to ensure the books on their shelves are free from lead-based inks. Though the American Libraries Association (ALA) is lobbying Congress to exempt school and public libraries from the new law, if unsuccessful, millions of books could be removed or destroyed... or kids will not be allowed in the library.

The law, called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, will actually test all products designed for, or used by, children - including toys, games, books, clothing, and more. Testing a single book can cost between $300 and $600 and could destroy the book.

A spokesperson for the ALA called the new law "crazy." She went on to say, "Books are not hazardous and the commission should be focused on where the hazards are - and that's not books."

Athalia Taylor, Library Director of Decatur County, TN, spoke to state officials at my behest, who assured her the ALA was "confident" public and school libraries would be made exempt from the law, but added, "You know, anything could happen." She admitted she was unaware of the new law and its possible ramifications until I contacted her.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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