TEMPERATURES are soaring at Blackburn Central Library this month — with sexy novels flying off the shelves.

Women have been flocking to the library on Town Hall Street, as Blackburn with Darwen is one of just 30 UK library services taking part in a promotion of erotic fiction this month.

Between The Sheets brings together 30 top titillating titles including classic erotica, 80s bonkbusters and sexy modern best-sellers – displayed on a red bookcase – with the strapline ‘embark on the forbidden journey and unlock your inner goddess’.

The December promotion comes hot on the heels of steamy novel Fifty Shades of Grey, and allows any library member aged 18 or over, or 16 and 17 year olds with parental consent, to borrow the raunchy reads.

Geraldine Wilson, senior librarian, said the books were all lent out within the first week of the month-long promotion.

“There’s so much hype about Fifty Shades — some people love it, some people don’t know what the fuss is about — but it has got a lot of people talking about erotica,” said Geraldine.

“It has sparked a lot of interest, and Fifty Shades is probably a first introduction to it all for many women.

“Fifty Shades has struck a nerve, almost. It has given people confidence to ask for these books — it’s almost as if women have been given permission to look for sexy books.

“Women are not shy anymore.

“The staff was amazed — the books flew out, it did take us a bit by surprise.”

With Fifty Shades of Grey, written by EL James, being the fastest-selling paperback ever, erotic fiction has clearly come out of the shadows; women openly read erotic fiction on trains, discuss naughty books at the school gate, even grandmothers are in on the act — a charity for pensioners has reported requests for audio versions of the book hitting an all-time high.

‘Mummy porn’ – as it has been dubbed – looks like it is here to stay, with even wholesome TV presenter Holly Willoughby admitting Fifty Shades is the best thing she’s read.

But not everyone has fallen for the most talked-about novel of 2012. Geraldine admits she hasn’t read the trilogy (which includes Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) because her reading list is simply already too long.

She may be unfamiliar with Fifty Shades’ tale of virgin graduate Anastasia Steele, who becomes dashing millionaire Christian Grey’s sex slave, but Geraldine is pleased its success has led to a renewed interest in reading for local women.

“Anything that gets people talking about books and reading is good, and people recommending books to each other is really good,” said Geraldine. “We are always looking for things to attract the public’s interest, and this is an ideal opportunity. People realise you can get lost in a book.”

In the wake of this erotic fiction success, it’s said that retailers of bondage gear are also making a killing, erotic film viewings figures are said to be up by 55 per cent, a Fifty Shades of Grey film in the pipeline and a collection of Fifty Shades’ sex toys is now for sale, so it’s not just Blackburn Central Library that’s enjoying the spin-offs...