Should Libraries Loan "50 Shades of Grey?"

All copies in every format at the Campbell Library are on hold and the waiting list for the entire Santa Clara County Library system is hundreds of patrons long.

Call it mommy porn, call it bad writing, call it whatever you want. E.L. James’s “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy is undeniably a mega-bestseller. More than 10 million copies of the books have been sold so far. But not everyone wants to pay for their literary titillation.  

The "New York Times" wrote Tuesday that the popularity of “50 Shades of Grey” has forced libraries around the country to take a look at their rules on erotica, and some librarians have banned the trilogy.

If the Santa Clara County Library system has rules to keep erotica off the shelves, the 50 Shades franchise must not meet the definition. The system has 120 copies in circulation, and every one is checked out. The waiting list is 388 patrons long.

The has 27 holds on five copies of Playaway audio versions, and all downloadable electronic copies have holds, too. Looks like you'll have to jump in line for your risqué reading, that is, if you don't want to pay for it.

Have you read “50 Shades of Grey?” What do you think - worth the hype? Is it suitable material for the Campbell Library's shelves?

Gail Mason May 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM
The Santa Clara County Library District does indeed own the “50 Shades of Gray” trilogy which has been remarkably popular among our patrons. While the library uses a number of criteria to select materials for the collection, our basic test is whether a title is of proven interest to our patrons. Accordingly, our library offers a wide range of materials. We are extremely proud of the breadth and depth of our collection which more than likely contains items that not everyone approves of. But we are absolutely committed to serving all of our patrons and to providing freedom of choice in our materials. While every reader may not be interested in “50 Shades of Grey,” there is most certainly something else in our collection that is sure to strike their fancy! Gail Mason, Santa Clara County Library District
Michelle Fitzsimmons May 31, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Thank you for the enlightening comment, Gail! It's great to hear that the library is providing patrons what they are seeking :)


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