Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh, the irony.

It's hilarious (at least, to me) that librarians might need to ban kids from the libraries because of the threat of lead content in books.

Libraries. Books. Children.

Basically, one of the core missions of the library is to nurture a child's interest in reading, but the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act threatened to force libraries to test all children's books to ensure they did not exceed the lead content limits. And if they couldn't verify the safety of the materials, to either dispose of them or ban children from borrowing or handling the books.

When the Child Online Protection Act passed, librarians were irate. COPA attempted to keep kids from viewing online porn, but librarians opposed any limits on free-speech, even for porn involving ca-ca poo-poos.

So the federal government attempted to keep kids from viewing porn but the law was eventually defeated and declared DOA on January 21, 2009.

And now another federal regulation will keep kids from viewing porn in libraries by labeling libraries as physically unsafe for them to be in due to an indeterminable threat of lead exposure.

So we tried to keep kids from viewing porn which many consider harmful, but that didn't last. But we wanted to let kids read which turns out to be more dangerous to their health. Porn and pedophiles are not dangerous enough to support a law to protect children, but a little lead ink is a serious threat.

We let kids as young as six have cell phones which many people think is dangerous, but we won't let toddlers suck on a few book pages. We are such hypocrites.

Now, I don't know if anyone in the federal government planned this whole lead scare to keep kids from viewing porn in libraries since it's been clear that COPA was going to be struck down at some point; but if this was a plan, it was a good one. If libraries won't keep the porn from the kids, we'll keep the kids from the libraries.

Now it looks like libraries (but since this a government release, I have no idea what they really mean) have been given a reprieve until February 10, 2010: CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing and Certification Requirements for Certain Products. so maybe the problem is gone for a while. Until someone decides the EMF radiation from all the computers in libraries is dangerous and we have to ban kids then because we for damn sure aren't giving up our computers. Because we love them. But we're not in love with them because that would be silly. We're in love with the coffee maker.

[additional info about the one-year stay in this letter]

Oh, and as an fyi, I only see one book recalled for have high levels of lead: SpongeBob SquarePants address books and journals. Yeah, you just knew that SpongeBob was dangerous. SquarePants, indeed.