Sunday, April 19, 2009
Insidious Round About Book Banning
Vintage children's books -- vintage being anything printed before 1985 -- are now illegal. You can't sell them, Goodwills and libraries, etc. are urged to remove these books from their shelves, and sellers of vintage books, on-line and not, are also urged to stop selling their books.
Some places have gone so far as to burn these books, others have put them in storage, and others, in acts of civil disobedience, ignore this new law. (The law was passed in January of this year.) Others however are paranoid and have stopped dealing with vintage books altogether. There seems to be a loophole; that you can deal in the children's books as long as they're listed as collectibles and sold to collectors -- adult collectors -- of children's vintage literature.
The reason for this law? Lead. The U.S. government has decided that the lead content in printer's ink used before the 1980s (though they admit they're not sure exactly when) is dangerous to children, even though there's been no documented cases of lead poisoning concerning books and children.
This is a weirdly under-reported story. For more see my item on my blog Octopus Confessional, which has many links to sources about this story.
I plan to keep reporting on this; for example, I'm curious how many people are aware of this law, what the local schools, libraries and booksellers are doing, and so on.