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.)
“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?
“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?
“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?
“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?