Is ‘50 Shades of Grey’ too hot for Gwinnett County?

All 15 branches of  the Gwinnett County library system will not carry “50 Shades of Grey,” the so-called mom porn book that Saturday Night Live thought would be a great Mother’s Day present. (See the video above.)

From The Associated Press:

“We do not collect erotica at Gwinnett County Public Library. That’s part of our materials management collection policy. So, E L James’ three books in the trilogy fit that description,” said Deborah George, the county library’s director of materials management.

“A copy of “Fifty Shades” sits on George’s cluttered desk. Wedged in it are nearly a dozen yellow sticky notes at various pages of sultriness.”

Multiple states, including Florida and Georgia, have libraries “pulling the racy romance trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” from shelves or deciding not to order the bestseller at all, saying it’s too steamy or too poorly written.”

So why does that matter?

From the AP:

“Even in the age of e-books and tablets, banning a book from a public library still carries weight because libraries still play such a vital role in providing people access to books.”

” ‘When a book is removed from the shelf, folks who can’t afford a Nook or a Kindle, the book is no longer available to them,’ said Deborah Caldwell Stone, the deputy director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom.”

So what’s so questionable in the book?

From AP:

“In a nutshell, here’s the plot: Anastasia Steele, a virgin who has just graduated college, meets Christian Grey, a rich and impeccably handsome young entrepreneur. Grey shows Steele his “playroom,” full of whips, ropes and sex toys, and asks her to sign a contract to be his “submissive” sex partner. Before Steele signs, the pair romp mostly around Seattle — where the novel is set — performing a stunning array of erotic activities. As the sex gets more daring and Steele’s emotions more tangled, drama ensues.

Here’s one of the milder excerpts from the book:

“But last night, in the playroom, you…” he trails off.

“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.

His grey eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.

“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take…”

So what does the publisher say?

From AP:

“Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Random House, said Brevard County is engaging in censorship by taking the book off the shelves.

“We believe the Brevard County Public Library System is indulging in an act of censorship, and essentially is saying to library patrons: ‘We will judge what you can read,’” Bogaards wrote in an email.

Caldwell Stone said other libraries are in a grey area — no pun intended.

“All libraries have to make these kinds of decisions,” Caldwell Stone said. “It’s so hard to judge the decision to acquire or not acquire the book.”

To be sure, most major libraries in Florida and across the country are carrying the novel. The Pinellas County, Fla., library system has 30 copies and more than 650 people on a waiting list. Broward County carries 26 copies and has more than 730 people waiting.”

So should Gwinnett County and other libraries carry this book? What about others like it?

Have you read the book? What did you think? Are you hoping for it for Mother’s Day?

99 comments Add your comment

Jeff

May 10th, 2012
5:02 am

Well since I didn’t get any porn from anyone for last year’s fathers day…………lol.

MomsRule

May 10th, 2012
6:20 am

I’m half way through the third book in the trilogy. I don’t agree with libraries deciding what patrons are allowed to read. If there is a demand (which there is) they should fill it. But on the flip side, if there is a “no erotica” policy in place and they have been following it across the board then I don’t see an issue. If you want to read it that badly buy the book(s) or borrow from a friend.

IMO, the basic story line is decent but there is too much sex. Part way through book 1 started skimming the sex scenes only focusing on the dialogue. But that’s just me. I know women who are devouring the sex scenes. To each his/her own.

My Two Cents

May 10th, 2012
7:00 am

It’s so simple. If you want to read the book then go buy it!

Reading Man

May 10th, 2012
7:06 am

I guess they will be taking Erskine Caldwell’s “God’s Little Acre” off the shelves next!

Meg

May 10th, 2012
7:13 am

Since when are taxpayers responsible for providing people with their vices? Porn is a vice. Are we going to start buying their cigarettes? Their whiskey? Their candy bars? Oh wait, we do buy them their candy bars, and then pay for their coronary bypass. If you want to support a vice, get a job and pay for it yourself., whether it’s porn, tobacco, alcohol or empty calories. Consider it an incentive.

Buzz144

May 10th, 2012
7:13 am

Why should tax payers have to buy it in Gwinnett? Don’t we pay enough taxes already? If you want to read it you can. Just go to a book store or go online and order it.

A

May 10th, 2012
7:20 am

I have always been against banning books. From there it’s a slippery slope to actual book burning. If you are offended by this material, don’t check it out. Simple.

Old Jeff

May 10th, 2012
7:34 am

So long as public libraries exist, they should be a storage unit for ALL books, not just those that those in power prefer.

If you want to ban erotica, start with the Bible. There is some pretty graphic stuff in there! (Staring at you, Song of Solomon – and even Genesis!)

Betty

May 10th, 2012
7:35 am

“No erotica” policy – really? Gwinnett County libraries are full of erotica; just pull out fifty books from the romance section and read a few steamy passages. And I support it being on the shelves; readers have the choice to select the books or not. Parents should supervise what their children choose. But don’t be hypocritical and ban one book because of the publicity when, in fact, you have erotica on the shelves.

Name (required)

May 10th, 2012
7:39 am

But the Bible is fiction, so it’s okay.

It doesn't matter

May 10th, 2012
8:07 am

Get a grip people! It’s hard to believe this book is debatable. Take inventory of your libraries you will be surprise what you find.

Call Orwell

May 10th, 2012
8:10 am

OK…now everyone should go and call George Orwell as its book burining time again (shades of Farenheit 451) or better yet call hitler and his brown shirts to assist. As a country that professes to adhere to the Bill of Rights, what has happened to the 1st amendment.

Just like one writer wrote…if you don’t want it than don’t check it out.

Or maybe Gwinnett country should also ban Catcher in the Rye or Harry Potter (you know, too many warlocks, witches and goblins).

John K

May 10th, 2012
8:18 am

Wow, this really goes against what libraries are all about! Very sad.

Comparing "50 Shades of Grey"...

May 10th, 2012
8:22 am

…to the Bible as both being fiction – surely you jest…

Eeeeka Nakedbody

May 10th, 2012
8:41 am

I wonder how many books in the library are FULL of graphic violence? A bullet through the brain? That’s fine! A kiss on the breast? BAD BAD BAD! This country’s sense of morality is really screwy sometimes.

Kat

May 10th, 2012
8:42 am

I’ve read the book, and it’s rather specific. I think it should be available at the local library for everyone (with what, appropriate ID?) to check out., like buying cigarettes or alcohol. If I knew I was on a list with 700 other people, I would go off and buy one too (which I did). They’ll be waiting a while. And who knows what…um…condition it will be in by the time they get to it.

I find it funny that this person post-noted the steamier sections. To what end, exactly?

Roekest

May 10th, 2012
8:48 am

Sounds like a book only a twonk would read. No wonder we’re lagging in education in this country.

Not a 1st amendment lawyer

May 10th, 2012
8:48 am

If you live in Gwinnett and do not like the decision, you have two choices. One, contact your county commissioner. The Board for the Gwinnett Public Library is appointed by the county commissioners. Let your commissioner know you are not happy with the decision and you want the commissioner to get the decision changed. If the commissioner will not act, vote him or her out. Or, take the library to court. Others have successfully gotten books returned to the shelves based on a First Amendment “right to read” (typically in a school library setting).

Finally two things previously suggested that will not work — calling George Orwell or Hitler. They both are dead. However, Ray Bradbury is alive. He wrote Fahrenheit 451.

JusSayin

May 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Gwinnett Library can buy other books that don’t fit the controversial category, like “I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World”

david c

May 10th, 2012
9:02 am

This gets banned, and the Twilight series, arguably some of the worst “literature” committed to paper, is there for anyone to read. I deplore the term “mommy porn”, but please, just say NO to Censorship.

robo

May 10th, 2012
9:06 am

The ban stems from a minority of doltish conservatives who think that they control the county. They are close-minded sheep, “who have got theirs” and wish to impose their flat-earth theories on the rest of us. This group consists mainly of SUV-driving overpaid, overweight, golf-playing caucasian men who are served by their stay-at-home Muffy-wives who serve them brownies after they drove their minivans from the neighborhood tennis court ALTA matches. These people are clueless and totally embarrassing. The world laughs at backward counties like Gwinnett. It’s simply embarrassing that the county is banning the book. But methinks that those Muffies are secretly reading the book in their bathtubs (must see the SNL skit on this) while their hubbies are at the strip-clubs over in DeKalb. Counties like Gwinnett, Cherokee, Cobb and Forsyth are the pictures of hypocrisy.

Allen

May 10th, 2012
9:11 am

Put is behind the counter so adults can ask for it – but banning it is stooopid. But this still is Georgia isnt it.

As far as having tax dollars used to pay for it – I had to pay taxes so you wingnuts could read George W’s war porn “Decision Points” (also known as what Dick Cheney told me to do and when) why not buy love porn.

evon

May 10th, 2012
9:18 am

I dont see anything wrong with this book. As many of you know Zane with is carried in more Libraries and she is more eroctic than this book. It is basically a love story. The romance novels in the paper back are very romantic graphic also. So in my opionion this book should be on the shelves. This is a great book.

jms

May 10th, 2012
9:24 am

“The ban stems from a minority of doltish conservatives who think that they control the county. They are close-minded sheep, “who have got theirs” and wish to impose their flat-earth theories on the rest of us. This group consists mainly of SUV-driving overpaid, overweight, golf-playing caucasian men who are served by their stay-at-home Muffy-wives who serve them brownies after they drove their minivans from the neighborhood tennis court ALTA matches. These people are clueless and totally embarrassing. The world laughs at backward counties like Gwinnett. It’s simply embarrassing that the county is banning the book. But methinks that those Muffies are secretly reading the book in their bathtubs (must see the SNL skit on this) while their hubbies are at the strip-clubs over in DeKalb. Counties like Gwinnett, Cherokee, Cobb and Forsyth are the pictures of hypocrisy.”

Generalize much?

northgateach

May 10th, 2012
9:26 am

i say fight book banning based on principal…not because of this book. the book is SO POORLY WRITTEN! it is not worth an uprising.

but book banning is definitely a violation of our rights.

jw

May 10th, 2012
9:44 am

OK – on the one hand, say the library carries it – do you restrict who checks out the book? Also, what do you do when the younger ones are sitting at the tables reading the book? Should the library have to play the role of parent in this situation? Who is liable?

If you don’t carry the book, you don’t have to worry about that type of liability – negative press of allowing a “too young” reader access to the book hurts the library much more than not carrying the title at all.

jw

May 10th, 2012
9:47 am

Oh!

The principal doesn’t have a dog in this hunt – so it shouldn’t matter – LOL – but fighting the principle of banning the book might be a worthy thing to do northgateach!

mom2alex&max

May 10th, 2012
9:56 am

I oppose ALL book banning on principle. No one should be telling me what I can and cannot read. Even if it is a piece of trash like this one.

just Me

May 10th, 2012
10:01 am

I am from Pinellas County, FL. I am now living in Gwinnett for the time being. This censorship of Intellectual Freedom is just one small reason I hate it here so much.

motherjanegoose

May 10th, 2012
10:02 am

@jw…I am not reading this book, nor do I plan too. BUT so many adults are being expected, today, to play the role of a parent …it is scary for sure. Some libraries have been turned into child care facilities, as parents go to work or run errands and simply drop their kids off…it is FREE to leave your kids at the library…wow! Librarians are supposed to watch your kids all day and do their jobs too?
Read on…this is a bit old but I hear about it regularly:
http://lisnews.org/leaving_kids_library

northgateach

May 10th, 2012
10:05 am

principle. not principal.

it’s been a LOOOOOONG week.

Voice of Reason

May 10th, 2012
10:07 am

You know who else likes to ban books? The Nazi’s…..just saying.

Now show me your papers!

Lady Chatterly

May 10th, 2012
10:13 am

Enter your comments here

whynot

May 10th, 2012
10:13 am

Is it any different from Zane’s books? I read a lot of books on tape and some of them have erotic sex scenes and plenty of them come from the Gwinett County Library.

Lady Chatterly

May 10th, 2012
10:24 am

Some of y’all need to go to the library and educate yourselves.

First, no library (save the Library of Congress) has every book published in this country on it’s shelves. Obviously funding, community standards, and other issues determine what books are purchased by a county’s library. Second, book banning by definition requires an effort aimed at just one book. Though the article above singles out this particular tome, the Gwinnett library management has not singled it out. Rather, they have made a decision not to include an erotica section in their library. Stewards of your tax dollars have to make decisions like this all the time, and personally I think those who use the Gwinnett public library would benefit more from educational materials, quality literature, or an expanded children’s section than from an erotica section.

However, if you disagree, I encourage you volunteer to serve on the library board.

Chippy

May 10th, 2012
10:27 am

There are tons of poor quality books that don’t make it to library shelves. Being published isn’t some kind of first amendment right it’s a commercial one. Being bought and paid by taxpayers, as his library is doing is to offer the populace some kind of value. And pornography never makes the list. The story line is devised to appeal to ignorant bored women. Freedom lives and if your going to stuff your mind with the mental equivalent of donuts and candy bars there is no cause to equate stupid behavior with freedom.

George Orwell would agree that the kind of oppressive rulers who would take your freedoms would be fine by people rotting their minds with garbage. No one hooked on this kind of mental junk food poses any threat to those who would enslave them. They are already slaves.

No one is stopping you from reading it if you must. And why every women isn’t immediately running out for her copy and embracing violence and pyscho men is just beyond me. Choosing idiocy is a blow to women who truly need govt services to protect them from violence.

Tammy

May 10th, 2012
10:28 am

Oh heavens, think of the children! Not that there is anything that kids these days don’t see anyway with the demon internet.

Meg

May 10th, 2012
10:28 am

The book isn’t banned as long as you cheapos can buy it in the bookstore. Book burnings and book bannings mean the book is unavailable, period.
The library not carrying the book just means my tax dollars aren’t being wasted on trash. They’re using the money to buy actual GOOD books instead.
If you want to mock conservatives, it’s rather loser-ish to expect them to buy your books. (and your food, and pay your rent, and your tuition, since conservatives are far more likely to pay more in taxes, and liberals are far more likely to line up with their hands out.)

FYI

May 10th, 2012
10:32 am

For all the people posting here who “hate it here so much” or are making fun of Georgia for being backwards or behind, a few comments …

Georgia does not have a monopoly on policies that are deemed unpopular by the masses. Find a government … anywhere … and you’ll find policies that seem silly on the surface.

Secondly, if you “hate it here so much”, bye. Seeya. Get out. GO find the place with idyllic government that runs things 100% how you would.

Willie

May 10th, 2012
10:38 am

I find it to be quite amusing that an arm of the government can take it upon itself to decide what is proper reading material. This is just another example of a giant step backwards. By the way, I bet Voltaire’s “Candide” is on the shelves.

A

May 10th, 2012
10:41 am

@robo–I would add North Fulton (specifically Milton and Alpharetta) to your list of these tennis and golf-playing, SUV-driving twits who can’t see the forest for the trees. I hope Fulton does not ban this book. I may not feel like reading it myself, but there is no reason to prevent others from doing so.

Willie

May 10th, 2012
10:43 am

Hey, Meg! What is a good book? By the way, I would double-check the notion that conservatives pay more in taxes than liberals.

non committal mind reader

May 10th, 2012
10:52 am

The ban stems from a minority of doltish conservatives who think…

Lots of hate and rage in that little rant, robo. There are 700,000 people in Gwinnett, most of which have never set foot in a Gwinnett library. Methinks the chip on your shoulder has been shoved into your brain.

ok

May 10th, 2012
10:52 am

So A, if you want to read it…simple. Buy it. Like another said, it’s not banned. Just not free to read. No big deal

jeffy

May 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Kat I want you…

catlady

May 10th, 2012
11:12 am

There are other things other people find objectionable, such as books about fairies, or witchcraft, or dinosaurs. Who decides what is okay and what is not? I decide what I read!

usually lurking

May 10th, 2012
11:25 am

@Chippy – “The story line is devised to appeal to ignorant bored women. ”

Yah, that applies to most of the books in the romance section…

@robo – Liberals play ALTA and drive minivans too. Or maybe I’m an N of 1 :-)

Disgusted with hypocrites

May 10th, 2012
11:25 am

These ppl don’t use or support the library in the first place. But heaven forbid someone tell them the aren’t allowed to have something. I say tell them NOT stocking it helps keep replacement costs down when porn moms return the books water damaged from dropping them all in tub like all the other romance books. That along with the continuing layoffs, reductions in open hours, and not replacing computers when unattended Bad Seeds trash computers in the children’s section will keep taxes down and help maintain the sub-par education rating GA is so proud of.

mom2alex&max

May 10th, 2012
11:54 am

I really hate it when people start talking about “MY tax dollars” being used on something they don’t approve of. Guess what, EVERYONE has something their tax dollars (yes they are mine too!) don’t want to support and yet it does. War for instance.

Anybody ever read any of Stuart Woods...

May 10th, 2012
12:04 pm

…books? Talk about graphic sex (and the use of George Carlin’s “7 words you can’t say on TV”)…Go, Stone Barrington, go…