Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saving children's books

People and the United States Congress have generally been up in arms about the lead content of children's toys, ever since we started finding more and more toys with lead in them that were manufactured in China. This led, last year, to Congress passing an act saying that anybody selling anything meant for children, manufactured before 1985, had to be certified lead-free.

This includes books.

There are a lot of wonderful children's books that are in American libraries and used bookstores that were printed before 1985. These books all have to be independently certified as lead-free, and the libraries and booksellers simply don't have the money to do this. These books may be thrown away in about a year's time.

But the American Library Association is working to change that. Some people in Congress are attempting to change that.

So I'm asking you to please go to the ALA website about this, and send an e-mail to your Congressional representative, if you live in the United States. Please don't let good books get thrown away because of a too-strict piece of legislation. Please.


Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd chime in as I'm a librarian. It annoys me that we're being required to get rid of pre-1985 books, but at the same time, 1985 was over 20 years ago. If those books were being checked out often, they probably need to be replaced because of wear and tear. If they weren't checked out often, then they might need to be weeded because they're sitting stagnant on the shelves.

Still, we're having to check our entire collection and you're right, we really don't have the staff time, especially with the budget cuts.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

brimfire, as an example, my library has Robin McKinley's THE BLUE SWORD in its original edition still. It's well-loved, but it's still readable as a library copy. It would have to be tossed.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I'm a library assistant, although currently at an academic library that doesn't stock children's books. However, child literacy is an important issue to me. Brimfire has good points about weeding and physical quality of these items, but being forced to get rid of books in this manner when there might be a demand or need for them makes me sad. Heading over to ALA's site now.

MaLanie said...

Jenny - Thank you for posting this information I had no idea. I'm going to post about this on my blog as well to bring awareness.

Alex said...

This legislation is screwing everyone across the board. Not letting kids read books may be the final straw that forces me to plan the revolution. Honestly, if everyone writes to their congressperson about the books, complain that this motion has absolutely crushed small business of every sort, too. Wow, I can't believe we've come to this.

Janeal C. Falor said...

Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea. I'll definitely be sending an e-mail off.

Elissa M said...

Well, I went to to the ALA site and filled out the form, but when I hit "Send", it said I was out of the constituency because of my zip-code.

I HAVE a representative in congress, thank you. I have no idea why ALA doesn't think so. Maybe our tiny village library doesn't belong to ALA?

Whatever. Guess I'll have to go the extra mile and contact my rep on my own. The issue is certainly worth the trouble. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.