More Libraries Withdraw FIFTY SHADES

An Associated Press story released late yesterday uncovers more libraries withdrawing a #1 NYT Best seller weeks after it first arrived in that spot, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Earlier in the week, the Palm Beach Post published a story about Brevard County withdrawing their copies. The AP reports that three other libraries have removed their copies — Gwinnett County in Georgia, Leon County, Florida and an unnamed library system in Wisconsin. The story is being picked up widely. A Google search on “Fifty Shades Libraries” returns over 300 hits, from to the UK’s Guardian.

The majority of the 345 comments on the AP story express opposition to the action, such as this one from “GolfingSusan”:

I am glad I have the freedom to buy a book if I want it because I sure as hell don’t want some librarian deciding what I should or shouldn’t read. It’s none of her business! Having been to the library often, I can safely say, I find a lot of the “selections” offensive. There are a lot crappy books in there no one wants to check out!

A Brevard County resident has begun an online petition to have the books reinstated. It has 327 signatures so far.

7 Responses to “More Libraries Withdraw FIFTY SHADES”

  1. Greg Says:

    It is a dark day for the profession (assuming of course the people making these stupid decisions were actually librarians).

  2. Anne Says:

    I am a public librarian and our library chose not to add the Fifty Shades trilogy to our collection. It is part of our collection development policy that we do not buy books classified as erotica. . Many libraries have this in their collection development policy. If libraries are purchasing this series and then pulling it from their shelves, what are their collection development staff doing? Don’t they read reviews of books before they purchase? I knew what these books were about months before patrons started requesting them because of helpful blogs like this one (and Jezebel) : )

  3. Amy Says:

    I’m a public librarian too and my library just added copies. That’s what we do when something is in demand. Also we take intellectual freedom and freedom to read seriously. Isn’t that what public libraries are about? I’m proud of our library for continuing to make decisions about what our community wants rather than what we think they should want. It’s a sad day when public libraries aren’t defending a person’s rights to read what they want.

  4. Tracy Says:

    I’m a public library collection development librarian who chose not to purchase this title for my system (though I’ve said I’m open to changing my mind if something changes). What’s interesting to me is that it’s not really about the book being erotica but the fact that it would be choosing to purchase FSG over a number of other titles that budget has not allowed me to purchase this year. I have lists of other titles that will have a longer shelf-life and be read by more patrons over many years, and I wouldn’t feel good right now about purchasing FSG over those.

  5. Lori Says:

    Is it not a part of library service to provide for the interests of the community? There are more explicit scenes in many novels classified as romance, and many books that would be deemed offensive in some way in every public library. Having said that, it is important to not let media hype determine collection development to the extent that we have a large number of a popular book that is no longer circulating a year from now. This is where the e-book version can meet the demands of a curious public.

  6. Beryl Heisman Says:

    As librarians, it is our job – some might say our duty, to provide our patrons with good books, bad books, scummy books, inspirational books, informational books…you name it. It is NOT our job to censor or decide what our patrons should or should not be reading. Shades of ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ It makes me shudder to think that in this day and age people are STILL trying to exert mind control over others. If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it. But don’t ever imagine that it is our job to decide what our readers should read. I don’t like the book, but I’ll fight for the right for my patrons to read it. In fact, didn’t people die for that ‘freedom of speech’ that is now so causually abused?

  7. DianeN Says:

    My colleagues and I are just wondering how many of the libraries that have banned or chosen not to buy James’s books have multiple copies of Laurell K. Hamilton’s titles sitting on their shelves. The 50 Shades books are tame by comparison with the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series!