B-W Libraries Can't Keep Steamy Novel on Shelves
Thousands are waiting to borrow a copy of "Fifty Shades of Grey."
If you're looking for a local copy of "Fifty Shades of Grey," get in line. Public libraries in Baldwin and Whitehall boroughs can't keep the steamy book on its shelves.
"There are currently over 1,300 holds on this title," said Paula Kelly, director of the Whitehall Public Library, on Wednesday.
"There are 1,344 people waiting for the book," added Joyce Chiappetta, director of the Baldwin Borough Public Library, on Thursday. "We have also been asked if we would consider hosting a discussion of the book."
Public libraries in several states have banned 'Fifty Shades'—a novel by British author E. L. James that tells the story of a love affair between Christian Grey, a billionaire with a taste for sexual dominance; and Anastasia Grey, a naïve college student—under the premise that it is too sexually explicit and/or too poorly written.
"Clearly, the demand is there," Kelly said, "and libraries, of course, feel a sense of obligation as public servants to provide the resources that people want—regardless of personal opinion.
"As a library, with few exceptions, you have to defend an individual's right to read what they want. Just like TV and movies, if you don't approve, then don't watch."
Said Chiappetta, "We have not had any negative response to our including it in the collection. Although a few people have indicated they aren't interested in reading it, they understand that libraries provide books for people of varied tastes. It is your right to expect your library to provide materials on all points of view."
Kelly spoke to the reactions (or lack thereof) that the book has drawn at her library.
"I've heard no feedback—good, bad or otherwise," she said. "We protect patron privacy always, so we never judge. The only thing I've witnessed is a lot of good-humored banter across the front desk but no complaints or demands to remove it from the collection."
But Kelly did volunteer her own critique of "Fifty Shades," the first of a trilogy expected from author James.
"I'll admit I took it home, and boy, was I unimpressed," Kelly said. "The writing was downright awful, and frankly, I'll confess to seeing racier things in library books.
"But for whatever the reason, this book has taken on a life of its own. I think a lot of people are just curious at this point. I know I was!"
Have you read "Fifty Shades of Grey?" Is it worth all of the hype?
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