Florida’s Brevard County Public Libraries will return the bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey to its shelves effective immediately, Library Services Director Catherine Schweinsberg announced today. The book is already back in the catalog, and has 286 holds.
The 17-branch system had attracted widespread media attention by its decision, earlier this month, to pull the 19 copies of the book that individual branch directors had ordered because of its erotic content.
Objections arose from local resident Linda Tyndall, who started a petition that had 1921 signatures at press time; as well as the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
“It’s not going to go back on the shelf … the decision was made to take it off and that’s the decision we stand by,” Florida Today quoted Don Walker, county spokesman, as saying on May 10. But 19 days later Walker reversed himself, issuing a statement which reads, in part, “The decision is in response to public demand, but also comes after considerable review and consideration by the library system.…we have begun a review of our selection criteria and that review continues even as the decision has been made to supply the book in response to requests by county residents.”
Such a review, both of individual titles that are questioned and of the criteria in general, is part of the best practices recommended by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
“We have always stood against censorship,” Schweinsberg said. “We have a long history of standing against censorship and that continues to be a priority for this library system.”