The other day the Snowed family visited our local branch of the Austin Public Library, as the children are voracious book readers (though the 2-year-old doesn't do a lot of reading by herself yet...). As usual, the 5-year-old picked out about ten books or so, while I picked up a book I thought the 2-year-old would like. And, I was right; the moment I put the 2-year-old in the car, she wanted that book. "Daddy, I want it!"
I figured it would not be a problem to give my daughter a book to peruse in the car on the way home. I was wrong. Very quickly I learned something important about my daughter: she gets carsick when she tries to read in a car. And did she ever, all over the book. Yuck.
Mrs. Snowed, thankfully, knew the best way to clean up such a mess on the pages of a book, and she did so. The book is now readable once again, though it is obvious that the book had gotten wet at some point.
And this brings us to the policies of Austin Public Library. We thought it would be for the best to call the library and ask them what they wanted to do with a book that had previously had on it, well, what it had had on it. The librarian to which I talked was quite nice, and she told me that once a book has had bodily fluids on it, it would be considered damaged and would no longer be acceptable for distribution. This makes perfect sense to me; I don't think I'd want a book on which someone else's child had gotten sick. So, it appears that we will be buying a replacement book for the library system, along with a $10.25 processing fee. That's the downside. The upside, if there is one, is that we get to keep the damaged book. Now, we're paying about twice the price for this children's book because of the method by which we are acquiring it.
So, to make a long story a little bit longer by adding a summary paragraph: if your child might get sick in the car, don't give him or her a library book (or, really, any book) to read. It's just not a good idea.
And if you want to buy books for your kids, stick to the bookstores. It's a lot less of a hassle.