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Banning books for kids
January 14, 2009 - Kylie Saari
The news room got a tip Tuesday that Congress had overlooked books when creating the law that required all products for children under twelve needed to be tested for lead. When we called around, we found people either had not heard of the requirement or didn't even know how to abide by it. And to top it off, this legislation that if enforced would require schools and libraries to take away children's books was unanimously embraced by nearly all legislators in attendance. It got me thinking about jumping on the bandwagon. In their haste to look good in the wake of scandal regarding lead, the law wasn't completely thought out. The American Library Association executive we contacted said the process could destroy the books, and Jenny Jepsen, our local librarian, indicated the cost would be so prohibitive they possibly couldn't test the books anyway. The Safety Commission told the Association of American Publishers that although the book test samples they submitted contained far below the lead level requirements, they were unable to issue an exemption from the law. This is silly. The government has a vested interested in introducing books to kids early - that is part of the basis for Early Childhood Family Education, a program funded by the same government that essentially just stripped them of all their books. And imagine my surprise as a reporter to be the one to be the one to inform the school district of this little snafu when calling for a comment from them. Really, after talking to congressmen, the American Library Association, the local library and school, and the Association of American Publishers, I can't imagine this law will end up including books.
P.S. Thank you to Kurt, who noticed my flat tire on Downtown Plaza and helped me fix it in the frigid cold temperatures and near blizzard late the other night. It is good to know there are such kind strangers nearby.
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