County officials have generally supported Hastler without commenting specifically on her decision. "The county executive [David R. Craig] has the highest regard for Mrs. Hastler and feels she has done an outstanding job as director of the Harford County Public Library," says county spokesman Robert Thomas.
Thomas says the "Fifty Shades of Grey" issue "rests with her and the library board, and we'll respect that."
Hastler reached a different conclusion on the book than her mentors, Hayden and Fish.
Hayden believes strongly that a library must make controversial materials available. "As long as it's not legally obscene, people have a right to read it and decide for themselves," she says. "We're not in the censorship business."
She nonetheless refuses to criticize her former pupil. "I wouldn't characterize it in any feeling," she says when asked if she was bothered by Hastler's decision. "I just find it interesting, the diversity of views on all issues among librarians."
"We just drew a line in a different place," Fish says. "It's easy to second-guess people, but I really don't want to pass judgment. We call it library science, but there's nothing scientific about it. It's a matter of judgment."
The list of most "challenged" books maintained by the American Library Association is an interesting mix. Some libraries have refused the popular "Hunger Games" trilogy because of offensive language and violence. Others have deemed "My Mom's Having a Baby," a pregnancy guide for young children, too graphic. Classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Brave New World" continue to prick sensibilities many decades after publication.
Hastler says she would normally be on the other side of such debates "defending what's in the collection." The life-long book lover does not enjoy being called a censor, noting that she'd encourage people to read whatever they want at home.
But she does not seem troubled by the decision she made on "Fifty Shades of Grey" or by the fact that she stands alone in the area.
"Our policies are different," she says. "I really do respect the fact that people care, and these are tough decisions. But that's the job."