Thursday, March 5, 2009

CPSIA and Illegal books

I've heard a lot about the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act) which recently went into effect making it illegal for Americans to buy, sell, or barter children’s books published before 1985. This is a huge blow to us homeschoolers who enjoy hunting down out-of-print gems to add to our children's libraries.
Yesterday, I spent some time at the library perusing children's picture books, cook books, knitting books (the usual) and the library used book shelves. Many libraries have such shelves filled with books donated by patrons. The library then sells those donated books to raise funds for new library items. I always stop to look for books for the boys and yesterday I came across this particular edition of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Now, I already own two different sets of The Chronicles of Narnia (One for Sam and one set for Luke) and so I really didn't need another copy of this book (I guess I do since I don't have a set for Tess), but I immediately realized that this cover art was the cover art I remembered from childhood (even though I didn't read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader until my thirties). I bought this edition published in 1970 for 50 cents. I had the CPSIA in mind when I purchased the book and I knew I was making an act of rebellion against the CPSIA, but I bought it more to preserve this older cover art. Soon, all those "old" children's books won't be on those shelves if libraries comply with CPSIA. Will libraries have to discard books published prior to 1985 from circulation? Can you imagine the amout of books that will ultimately end up in landfill? Of course, I'm in favor of protecting our children from lead and other nasty things that are found more frequently in their toys, but I think this legislation will have some serious unintended consequences. Making it illegal to sell, barter, or buy children's books published before 1985 is only part of the CPSIA. I suppose it's unsafe for my son Sammy to be holding this toxic book.

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