Joint letter includes American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, Association for American Publishers, and PEN American Center
NEW YORK, NY, 05/16/2012 – In case officials in Brevard County, Florida have yet to see the "big picture" ramifications of banning the hit thriller Fifty Shades Of Grey from their library system, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has gathered some friends to help drive the point home.
In a joint letter (click for PDF) issued to the county library's advisory board in anticipation of their Wednesday meeting, NCAC has arrayed co-signers representing publishers, authors, booksellers and journalists from across the nation to call on Brevard County to reverse its decision and restore Fifty Shades to library shelves.
Characterizing the book's removal as "deeply" troubling, the letter goes on to say the censorship was compounded "by the justification of the removal as a categorical exclusion of a whole literary genre." The letter then cites salacious works that are now library mainstays, such as Memoirs of A Woman of Pleasure ("Fanny Hill"), Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, and Erica Jong's Fear of Flying.
"There is no rational basis to provide access to erotic novels like these, and at the same time exclude contemporary fiction with similar content" wrote the free speech defenders.
"The very act of rejecting erotica as a category suitable for public libraries sends an unmistakable message of condemnation that is moralistic in tone, and totally inappropriate in a public institution dedicated to serving the needs and interests of all members of the community."
NCAC has publicly opposed the ban since it was announced last week, celebrating Fifty Shades fans who have spoken up for the right of adults to read what they like (see video). NCAC also uploaded an interview with Linda Tyndall, a Brevard County resident whose Change.org petition to overturn the library ban has accrued over 1500 signatures.
Today's letter features the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, PEN American Center, American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Independent Book Publishers Association as co-signers with NCAC.
The Brevard County Library Advisory Board will meet on Wednesday, May 16 at 4:30pm and will include a section for comments from the public. The meeting will take place at the Titusville Public Library, 2121 South Hopkins Avenue Titusville, Florida.
About The National Coalition Against Censorship: For 37 years, NCAC has been a unique force protecting the right to read, think, and speak freely. NCAC engages a large and diverse community in educational and advocacy activities stressing the critical role of free speech for individual self-fulfillment and effective self-government. See the latest news from NCAC at www.ncac.org