Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Public libraries in three states have banned the racy romance novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but the Rowan Public Library plans to stock more copies of the bestseller.
Melody Moxley, administrative services manager, said part of the library’s selection criteria is popular demand and the book definitely meets that.
The library currently has three copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in circulation with 65 people on the waiting list to check one out.
Moxley said she was a “little surprised” to read that some libraries refused to stock the book, citing the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights: “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation,” the document states. “Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”
During her 30-year career at the Rowan library, Moxley said she doesn’t remember the library ever banning a book.
“We feel that people have the right to determine what they want to read,” she said. “We’re providing access to books and we view that as part of our mission in the community.”
Moxley said she’s not sure how many more copies of the book the library will order, but she anticipates adding at least seven more.
“We have to look at budgetary constraints and see what kind of demand we have based on the number of people reading it.”
Moxley anticipates the library will stock about six copies of the other two books in the trilogy.
Public libraries in Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida have either pulled the book from their shelves or refused to order it because of its steamy sexual nature, which includes bondage.
Don Walker, a spokesman for a library in Brevard County, Fla., has called the book “semi-pornographic.”
Salisbury resident Ginny Leonard said she can “see why some libraries are banning it.”
“It’s very detailed and something like I’ve never read before.”
Leonard finished the first book and is already halfway through the second one.
So far, she only has one complaint.
“I didn’t like the way the first book ended,” she said.
Leonard said the sexual nature of the book didn’t bother her.
“Everybody will read it and kind of get a different idea of what you visualize when you read,” she said.
Leonard admits her mother got about halfway through the first book and said, “I can’t read this.”
“I guess it’s just a difference in generations,” she said.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” has been referred to as “mommy porn” because of its popularity among middle-aged women.
While working at the Literary Bookpost, Bill Greene said he “had a middle-aged woman discreetly ask for it and then a brown paper bag.”
The majority owner of the bookstore in downtown Salisbury added, “We’ve had to re-order to say the least.”
The book is No. 1 on the Literary Bookpost’s bestseller list this week.
“The demand has been unbelievable …. and constant,” bookstore employee Kimi Matthews said.
The trilogy also holds the top three spots on the New York Times bestseller list.
Reviews of the book have been mixed. While The Guardian of London called it “jolly” and “eminently readable,” the U.K. newspaper The Telegraph said the British author’s writing was “appalling,” “hackneyed” and readers would have to wade through “pages of treacly cliche.”
Library collections should be diverse, the American Library Association said, but should also reflect what people want to read.
“When a book is removed from the shelf, folks who can’t afford a Nook or a Kindle, the book is no longer available to them,” said Deborah Caldwell Stone, the deputy director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.