Many of you already know or heard of the CPSIA of 2008.’  For those of you who don’t know or haven’t heard, this is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that has been a thorn in librarians’ sides since the emails and bulletins started circulating in early January.’  It was originally meant to regulate lead and phtalates in age 12 and under children’s toys.’  However, it was misinterpreted to include books, which has lead to a paniac amongst all librarians across the U.S.’  At first, it was supposed to take effect this February 10, but a stay was issued until next year.

However, something important has happened! Senator Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb) has proposed an amendment to the Act to exempt books from lead testing (which is a costly procedure that would bankrupt libraries). Without our help, this legislation will not go forth.’  We need to call and write all of our legislative members to get this passed.’  The CPSC will not exclude books without an exemption from Congress! And, this needs to be on the agenda.

Here are some talking points for your letter about H.R. 1692:

  • Congress never intended for this act to include books.
  • This exemption would be for ordinary books only, not books that come with toys and various other parts.
  • Testing has shown that books typically fall well below the allowable lead limit.
  • The Center for Disease Control has even said that books are of no danger to children.
  • Books are critical to child development and without them, libraries would be forced to close children’s sections and a whole generation would face literacy issues.

One last note of importance, when you write your Congress person write “H.R. 1692-Please Co-Sponsor” in the subject line.’  Some senators and representatives just take counts of the emails instead of reading all of them.’  This will assist in adding your voice quickly to the count!

So please, take a spare moment, and act now; the fate of children’s books rest in our hands!

About Krista McKenzie

I am a Children's Specialist at the Ruth Enlow Library in Garrett County, Maryland. I work with kids from the ages of 0 to 18 and am also a reference librarian. In addition, I am member of the YALSA Legislative Committee, and the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association.

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