TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and an anti-censorship group sent the Brevard County Commission a letter urging the officials to put a controversial erotic novel back on its library shelves.
Earlier this month, the Brevard County Library put 19 copies of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” on the shelves, then pulled the novel after reading reviews. At the time, the county’s library services director said the book didn’t meet her selection criteria and said that the library does not “collect porn.”
In the letter dated May 24 to Brevard officials, the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship say that “Fifty Shades” is no more erotic than other novels currently on the Brevard library’s shelves and said the removal of the book is censorship.
“Books teach us; they entertain us; they confound us; and they challenge us,” wrote Maria Kayanan of the ACLU and Joan Bertin of the National Coalition Against Censorship. “But there is no room on library shelves for censorship.”
Kayanan and Bertin say that Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” and Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” are available on Brevard’s shelves — yet both contain graphic sexual content that some have found offensive in the past.
“‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is an international phenomenon, a love story about two consenting adults who express their passion for each other in ways that may startle some readers and offend others,” they write.
Also on May 24, Brevard County Manager Howard N. Tipton sent an email to the ACLU of Florida, saying that the county’s library “will be making an announcement regarding this particular book next week” as part of a review of circulation policies.
The county’s library board said during a meeting in mid-May that it would look at reviewing the policy regarding how books are selected and purchased.
Librarians in at least four Florida counties have declined to buy the book, even though hundreds of people have requested it.
The New York Times bestseller is the first book in a trilogy. It’s a romance novel about a recent college graduate who falls in love with a handsome multimillionaire. The couple engage in wild sex and heavy bondage throughout the three books.
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