'50 Shades of Grey’ Returning to Florida Library Shelves After Ban

Brevard County libraries lift ban on E.L. James' erotic trilogy

Floridians with a hankering for some S&M-tinged light reading should be grateful for the First Amendment.

Nineteen books from E.L. James erotic trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey" are returning to Brevard County, Florida libraries, Library Services Director Cathy Schweinsberg said Monday. 

The Brevard County branches pulled copies of the best-seller from shelves earlier this month, labeling it pornographic. That move was greeted with online petitions and outcry from free speech groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Also read: '50 Shades of Grey' Author E.L. James on Why She Picked Universal and Focus

Citing requests from citizens, the Library Services department said it was backing down from its earlier ban, but would continue a review of its selection criteria for the books it houses. Although the ACLU had likened the county's move to censorship and said it ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution, Schweinsberg hit back at claims that the library had found itself on the wrong side of a free speech issue. 

“We have always stood against censorship,” Schweinsberg said in a statement. “We have a long history of standing against censorship and that continues to be a priority for this library system.”

"Fifty Shades of Grey" traces the relationship between a recent college graduate and a billionaire businessman. It originated from a piece of "Twilight" fan fiction and, thanks to its steamy plot line, has since sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. 

After a fierce bidding war involving several top studios, Universal and Focus Features captured the film rights to James' trilogy last March.