Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty-shades-of-grey-trilogy.jpg

Artist: E.L. James

Year: 2012

Date of Action: April-May 2012

Region: North America

Location: Brevard County, FL

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Literature

Confronting Bodies: Director of Library Services Cathy Schweinsberg

Description of Artwork: When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

The Incident: After the book's publication in April, the Brevard County library selection committee purchased 19 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey for its patrons. After becoming aware of the book's success, Director of Library Services Cathy Schweinsberg read the book and decided unilaterally to remove the book from circulation, notwithstanding the waiting list consisting of over two-hundred people.

Schweinsberg told Florida Today's Britt Kennerly: "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." [1]

Linda Tyndall, a Brevard County resident, created an online petition to restore the books to the libraries.

The National Coalition Against Censorship sent a letter to Scweinsberg as well as Brevard County Commissioners on May 9, 2012. On May 16, 2012 a joint letter was sent to the Advisory Board of the Brevard County PL on behalf of the NCAC, ABFFE, the PEN American Center, American Society for Journalists and Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Results of Incident: The Brevard County Public Library Board met on Wednesday, May 16 at 4:30 p.m. at the Titusville Public Library. At the meeting they discussed the book and patrons voiced their disagreement with the decision to remove the book. However, the board did not reconsider their decision to remove the book.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/books/fifty-shades-of-grey-by-e-l-james-in-demand-at-libraries.html


5/25/12 The Brevard County Commission decides to return books to library shelves.




Artist: E.L. James

Year: 2012

Date of Action: May 2012

Region: North America

Location: Harford County, MD

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Literature

Confronting Bodies: Mary Hastler, Director of the Harford County Public Library

Description of Artwork: Fifty Shades of Grey is a romantic novel that depicts sexually explicit content.

The Incident: The Harford County library in Maryland has decided not to carry the New York Times Best-selling series due to its sexually explicit content. The decision came after director of the Harford County Library, Mary Hastler, read the first two of the series' books (Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker) and decided "In my personal opinion, it's almost like a how-to manual in terms of describing bondage and submissive relationships. A lot of the reviews that came out very publicly and quickly identified these books as 'mommy porn.' Since our policy is that we don't buy porn, we made the decision not to purchase the series." [2]

Results of Incident: The Harford County library still has not returned any of the novels to the shelves, and Mary Hastler remains confident in her decision. [3]

Source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-ae-banned-book-20120530, 0, 1653381.story