Tales of haunted libraries are not uncommon, but a haunted book? The Poems of Ossian, The Son of Fingal, a book donated by Governor James Whitcomb of Indiana in the early 1800s supposedly has the good Governor keeping an eye on it. A group of paranormal investigators was given an hour after the library closed for their ghost hunting. So often these kinds of things just end up with a bunch of people sitting around like dopes because nothing happens. This group got lucky though, they had a visit from Governor Whitcomb.

In news a little more serious, have you heard that the Consumer Product and Safety Act of 2008 meant to protect children from lead in toys–remember all those toys from China that had high lead content?–is causing an uproar in libraries. Why? Because it applies to books for children as well. Even worse, it applies to library books already on the shelves in libraries. The American Library Association is lobbying the the Consumer Product Safety Commission to request books not be included. There is nothing in the law that mentions books, but the CSPC is interpreting the law so that it does.

If the ALA and other book organizations fail in their efforts, public, school, academic, and museum libraries will be required to have all their books tested for lead or be forced to remove all children’s books or ban children under 12 from visiting the library. The law takes effect February 10th.

You can help by calling Nancy Nord, the acting CPSC commissioner at 301.504.7923. If you call, wait for the automated directory that will give you directions to reach Nord’s office. Ask that books be exempted from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 or that the Commission accept tests that have already been done by the publishing community that shows that children’s books do not have any health or safety risks. Don’t wait! Call soon!