‘Fifty Shades’ fans get their fix for free from their local library

Hot-blooded women have been flocking to their local libraries to get their hands on red-hot copies of the Fifty Shades trilogy — for free.

With stocks of the steamy series of novels selling out in many bookshops, those desperate to see what all the fuss is about are finding more creative ways of getting between the covers.

The so-called mummy porn series by British author EL James traces the seedy relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey and feature explicit scenes of bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).

The three books — Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed — have topped bestseller lists around the world since the first volume was released in 2011 and are the fastest-selling books in Ireland and the UK since records began.

Kerry county librarian Tommy O’Connor said the demand has been high across the country as women look to satisfy their needs in their local library.

“It is definitely high up in the rankings and I think it will stay there for a while. We only discussed it today and said we think it will be the first of many books in a certain type of genre after this.

“We will supply Fifty Shades of Grey to the readers as they demand it. We’ll leave it up to the readers as to whether they enjoy it or not.”

Meanwhile, public libraries are proving to be recession proof, with a 20% surge in visitors within the past five years.

The traditional image of the bookworm is also changing as more unemployed people and non-nationals avail of their local library’s facilities than ever before.

Libraries also noted a significant increase in fathers visiting with their children, another growing trend attributed to the economic downturn and high unemployment rate.

Fingal’s public libraries experienced a 44% rise in visitors since 2007, the highest increase of the counties surveyed.

Fingal librarian Lilian Whelan attributes the rising trend to the growing population in the area.

“There is definitely the impact of population growth and a constantly growing number of non-nationals using the library facilities too.

“Of course we have seriously upped our game too. Blanchardstown, Rush, and Malahide all have fabulous new libraries. The free membership is an incentive to join too, they are all free to join and will be for the future.”

The spike in readers has also been recorded in Kerry, with footfall up 20%. Mr O’Connor believes the upward trend is directly linked to the downturn.

“Visiting the library is the ideal option if you cannot afford to be buying books new. Everybody is welcome.”

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