The number of patrons waiting in line for “Fifty Shades of Grey” is extraordinary, higher than the usual demand for the latest John Grisham or Danielle Steel novel, library officials say.
And the line is getting longer every week. At the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio, a system that includes Cleveland, 454 holds were placed on the book in early April; last week there were 1,399.
Robert J. Rua, an official with the Cuyahoga library, said they had bought 539 copies of the trilogy’s first book. There is no section for erotic fiction in the library, he said, so “Fifty Shades” has been placed among the other trade books for adults.
Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Vintage Books, declined to provide a current sales figure for the trilogy, but said millions had sold so far.
Marcee Challener, the manager of materials and circulation services for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries, said that library officials there carefully considered the book before ordering it, but ultimately decided that it was no different from one of the paranormal romances featuring vampires that have been popular for years.
“There’s sex and eroticism in many well-written literary novels,” she said. “It’s part of the human experience.”
But Ken Hall, the library director in Fond du Lac, said he would rather spend precious library funds on books that had literary or artistic value.
Since the library publicly announced that it would not stock the book, he has been hounded by insults, with some people calling him a useless bureaucrat. But he said he had also received numerous compliments from residents urging him not to back down.
“With this type of book, we will get somebody questioning our decision no matter what decision we make,” Mr. Hall said. “We live in an age where people don’t like to talk about gray areas. No pun intended.”
I call bullshit on this and any other so-called collection services librarian or library director. IF you have any works by the following authors on your libraries’ shelves then you are a hyprocrite: Bertrice Small, Susan Johnson, Robin Schone, Jackie Collins or Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. With these authors on your shelves you already have sexually suggestive material available to the public. IF YOU have any works by Zane or Laurell K. Hamilton or any of Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy then again you already have purchased ‘smut’ and placed it on the shelves so that the patrons can read it. 50 SHADES OF GREY is not ground breaking or beyond the standards set by all that came before it. It’s nice enough smut…but it’s no worse than anything else. Libraries who call themselves ‘clutching their pearls’ over the idea of stocking this book are full of shit and should be ashamed of themselves for grandstanding on a non-issue.