Brevard libraries pull erotic best-seller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Florida Today – The erotic “Fifty Shades of Grey” apparently is too blue for the Brevard County Public Libraries system. The wildly popular first installment of a titillating trilogy by British author E.L. James, “Fifty Shades” is parked atop every best-seller list in the country, from Amazon to the New York Times. But the sadomasochistic saga won’t be found any longer on Space Coast library shelves. All of a “handful” of copies were removed from circulation earlier this week. “It’s quite simple — it doesn’t meet our selection criteria,” said Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director “Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves. But we bought some copies before we realized what it was. We looked at it, because it’s been called ‘mommy porn’ and ‘soft porn.’ We don’t collect porn.”

3 Responses to “Brevard libraries pull erotic best-seller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’”

  1. Carolina
    May 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    As a librarian I understand political pressures. However, prior to making the claim not to collect porn, I suggest that you perform a search in your own catalog for works by A.N. Rocquelaire. Specifically, the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ series is as erotic (to my understanding) as ‘Shades of Gray.’ From your holdings:

    Author(s): Roquelaure, A. N

    Title(s): The claiming of Sleeping Beauty : an erotic novel of tenderness and cruelty for the enjoyment of men and women / A.N. Roquelaure.

    Publisher: New York : Plume, 1999, c1983.

    You also own and presumably circulate ‘The mammoth book of international erotica’ which has the intriguing but certainly not illegal tag of ‘erotica sex’. In a time of threatened budgets, is the removal of ‘shades of gray’ a response to pressure? If nothing else, there appears to be an inconsistency or a changing of direction in collection criteria.

    Making the vague claim that the book does not meet collection standards fails to inform those you serve about collection development decision making at this library system.

    According to WorldCat, more than 600 copies of ‘shades of gray’ are available in some form in libraries worldwide, including 14 library systems in Florida, alone. The item is available in multiple formats (print, audio, and e-book), and some libraries have reported hold queues of 60 patrons.

    Whether the item meets literary standards appears to be in question, at least according to some disappointed Amazon reviewers – one complains that the work can hardly be considered erotica when the vagina is referred to as ‘down there,’ for example. However, literary merit as a standalone criteria would empty libraries of vast amounts of material, depending on selectors.

    Meanwhile: what is your selection policy? Who do you serve?

  2. MiketheLibrarian
    May 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Well-spotted, Carolina. And well-researched. I wonder if Brevard will ever have the guts to admit what’s going on here?

  3. rambleonsylvie
    May 8, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    yet they “collect” all the fiction works by Zane…

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