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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Too Racy for Gwinnett Libraries

Book deemed to be “out of scope” for the Gwinnett County Library Collection.

While you may find most New York Times bestsellers at the , there are three you will not find.

Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” -- currently numbers one through three on the New York Times bestseller fiction list -- are not part of the Gwinnett County Public Library’s (GCPL) collection.

 Deborah George, the division director for materials management at GCPL, explained the wildly popular books by E. L. James are “out of scope.”

The trilogy, referred to by some critics as “mommy porn,” is a series of erotic novels about the relationship between college student Anastasia Steele and businessman Christian Grey -- a man with a unique sexual appetite.

“Our collection development plan states that we do not collect self-proclaimed erotica, which is the primary reason for our decision not to purchase this and similar materials,” George wrote in an email to Dacula Patch.

GCPL is not the only library system to decide against carrying the highly successful erotic series. According to a FloridaToday.com report, the Brevard County Public Library system in Florida recently pulled “Fifty Shades of Grey” from its shelves after belatedly realizing the nature of the material. 

“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,” said Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director.

The question of whether or not “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its sequel are harmless erotica or something worse has created controversy.

RT.com asked, “The book has certainly found its fan base, but are thousands of women buying a book that encourages them to submit to male domination?”

In her "" review on Rochester Patch, counselor Ann O'Neill wrote, "As a therapist who specializes in women and girls’ issues, my caseload usually has one client who is in therapy because of a relationship with a controlling, disturbed man. It’s damned discouraging to see women eating up this book like it’s Greek yogurt."

Other reviewers are less focused on the BDSM (a combination of bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadism and masochism) aspect of the book and more on the entertainment value.

“In fact it's the definition of a page-turner: even if anyone unfamiliar with the world of BDSM is likely to turn the pages more out of horrified fascination than engagement with the characters. Gray’s sexual predilections are by turns shocking and banal, and the many sex scenes often toe-curling,” wrote Laura Barnett in The Telegraph.

Have you read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and its sequels? Is it a harmless read suitable for a library collection or damaging porn? Let us know in the comments.


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Katie R May 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
While this book is very erotic in nature, and might not be appropriate for all audiences, it's not any worse than what the kids are watching on MTV these days. I found the series to be a wonderful modern love story. A handsome, super rich man with a very troubled past, meets a shy, smart, innocent girl next door, and they fall in love. There is lots of sex in the book, but that's what two consenting adults do when they love each other.... make love, some of it more exciting than just boring old "vanilla". Obviously there aren't too many "naughty librarians" working for Gwinnett County Public Library.
Charlie Mathers May 09, 2012 at 09:39 PM
The content of any legally available book is not the issue! The issue is the inappropriate exercise of censorship by the Gwinnett County Public Library. It is not the librarian's job to decide for me what books should be available for me, the tax-paying citizen. Their job is to make all legally permissable books available to as many citizens as possible. The fact that these books are widely circulating in the society should move them up in priority. They are obviously books the citizenry wants to read. Librarians, you are not my mother, and I am not your child! Please just do your job!
Katie R May 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM
It's not the first time Gwinnett county has made a decision for its tax paying citizens. I'm hardly surprised.
Rare Ale May 10, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I'll bet they still have 'The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty' by Ann Rice on the shelves. I know the Forsyth libraries do. The only reason Fifty got banned was because of it's notoriety.
kevin adams May 10, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Yea!!! and I think we should have some good magazines too like Penthouse... and Playgirl for the ladies!


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