'Fifty Shades' Too Steamy for Some Library Shelves

By: Tamara Lush, AP, Angelica Alvarez Email
By: Tamara Lush, AP, Angelica Alvarez Email

[UPDATE] Tallahassee - May 10, 2012 - 11:49pm

You can search the shelves and scan the book catalogs, but you won't find a single copy of the erotic 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in any Leon County library.

Cay Hohmeister is the director of libraries in Leon County. She says they chose not to purchase the book. The reason behind that is not because of the steamy S&M love story between a young college girl and a handsome billionaire, but because of its reviews.

"It hasn't received favorable reviews in the review medias we usually use," said Hohmeister.

Some reviews we found on Barnes and Noble's website echo just that. Some write that it's a bad book and that it's poorly written. Others write that it's just plain horrible, but then other people disagree. We spoke to people who describe it as racy and interesting and that they're having a good time learning about that lifestyle.

Even with the plethora of positive opinions floating around and the millions of copies sold, Hohmeister says popularity isn't the same as a good book.

She also says the library has to stick to a budget and right now they feel 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is not an investment they'll see a return on for years to come.

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St. Petersburg, FL (AP) - Public libraries in several states are pulling the racy romance trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey" from shelves or deciding not to order the best-seller at all.

The libraries are saying it's too erotic or too poorly written.

Deborah Caldwell Stone is the deputy director of the American Library Association's office for intellectual freedom. She says when libraries pull a book, people who can't afford a paperback, Kindle, iPad or other tablet no longer have access to the book.

She says the decision to stock a book should not be made on content alone.

Libraries in Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida have all either declined to order the book or pulled it from shelves. Many libraries across the country are carrying the novel, and demand is high.


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  • by Please stop the madness Location: tally on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:39 AM
    Want to save money for Leon County? Replce the narrow minded staff witb someone who doesn't let their personal likes and dislikes drive community decisions. Sad day for Leon County. Maybe the City should run the library?
  • by Please stop the madness Location: tally on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:39 AM
    Want to save money for Leon County? Replce the narrow minded staff witb someone who doesn't let their personal likes and dislikes drive community decisions. Sad day for Leon County. Maybe the City should run the library?
  • by Be reasonable folks Location: Tallahassee on May 12, 2012 at 09:48 AM
    They explained their policy and procedures and they are justified in their decision. EVEN if they were not, it is their decision not ours. Stand firm, Library, all is well.
  • by c'ville Location: Crawfordville on May 11, 2012 at 04:18 PM
    The public has the right to read what they want. There are several racy books in the library. Each individual has the right to say this is not for me. Therefore I think it should be made available in our public libraries.
  • by Anon Location: Tallahassee on May 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM
    Playboy has a huge circulation. Should the library stock that on the magazine shelves?
    • reply
      by Tally on May 11, 2012 at 04:27 PM in reply to Anon
      Check out Strozier Library for the Playboy magazine.
  • by Fitty on May 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM
    It's a junk book; written "racy" to sell in place of any literary merit. There are plenty of similar plot lines that are written well, AND are racy, AND in the library.
  • by Kelly on May 11, 2012 at 09:12 AM
    I read all three books of the series and found nothing wrong with them being in the library. If you continue to do this then more people are going to use e-readers or in my case an Ipad and your jobs will be obsolete anyways. **you may want to think this step through** A racy book vs my job......Hmmmmmm......
    • reply
      by Budget cuts on May 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM in reply to Kelly
      Yea its sad. Here in Wakulla some citizens think we can do without a library because the schools has library resources. Of course there are adults who use the library that would have no where to go.
  • by Over50 Location: Tallahassee on May 11, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    Really? Censoring "50 Shades of Gray"? I never thought I'd see the day when my library would do that, especially in 2012...Good grief! I am very disappointed in this decision and I wonder what the real story is and who put the hammer down. Time to reread "Fahrenheit 451".
    • reply
      by Under50 on May 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM in reply to Over50
      It's not being censored, just not purchased by the library. You can still buy the book anywhere you want, you just can't pick it up at the library, which is the same for 10's of thousands of books out there.
  • by censorship on May 11, 2012 at 06:10 AM
    so why are there shelves full of harlequin romance novels in the library? I doubt very few of them are well written or are the next great american novel? and when twilight and harry potter hit they couldn't keep them on the shelf. though i am sure now they are on the shelf collecting dust since everyone has read them. this reeks of censorship. oh well one less reason to go to the library. glad i invested in a kindle fire. thank you amazon.
  • by Wow Location: Tally on May 11, 2012 at 05:48 AM
    Libraries are there to serve the public. If you have requests for the book it should be their duty to provide it. Perhaps a few donations are in order to see if your library will allow the book to be checked out. If not then its censorship which is not a true librarian's way.
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