E L James’ kinky bondage-themed Fifty Shades trilogy is still finding a massive audience — the three books currently occupy the top spots on The New York Times best-seller list — but if you live in Wisconsin, Georgia, or Florida, you might have a harder time finding the titles in public libraries. Counties in those states, including Brevard County in Florida and Gwinnett County in Georgia, have pulled the “mommy porn” books from its libraries, deeming them “too steamy or too poorly written,” according to the AP. Other states and areas are expected to follow suit.
Fifty Shades of Grey became a phenomenon earlier this year primarily through e-book sales. On April 3, Vintage books released paperback editions to capitalize on their popularity. A representative from the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom suggests that removing a book from the library mostly restricts lower-income individuals from accessing it.
This raises questions of censorship: Do libraries have an obligation to stock their shelves with books people want to read? Or is it the duty of a library to curate their offerings based on subject matter, reviews, and other factors?