Close Panel

Santa Barbara Reads

Big Magic: Create Living Beyond Fear

Join the Santa Barbara Public Library for a month of exploration into creativity and the creative process. SB Reads: Create! will use Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and our knowledgeable community of local artists to delve into this topic through a combination of book discussions, artist workshops, film screenings, and virtual author talk with Elizabeth Gilbert, herself. 

Free copies of Big Magic, in English and Spanish, will be available to pick up at the Library’s Sidewalk Service beginning on Saturday, October 31, and a virtual visit with author Elizabeth Gilbert will be held Wednesday, November 11. Click here to read our press release about SB Reads: Create! 

Santa Barbara Reads was made possible this year through the generous support of The Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, California Humanities, California Arts Council, and the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles. 

SB Reads: Create! Programming


Create! Workshops

Relief Printmaking for Beginners with Oliver Murray
November 6, 10, 13 at 4:00 pm

Journaling to Uncover Our Own Big Magic with Christina Gessler
November 7, 14, 21, December 5 at 10:00 am

The DNA of Rock ‘N Roll with Darrell McNeill
November 9, 16, 23, 30 at 5:30 pm

Art-Making Exploration for Teens with FoundCreate’s Emily Summers and Jason Summers
November 17, 18, 19 at 5:00 pm

Nichos Workshop with Bany Vargas, presented bilingually in English and Spanish 
December 2 at 5:30 PM


Connecting through Sign Language Programming

Facebook Live Connecting Thru Sign Language Storytelling Hour - November 14, 1:00 pm

Silent House” a film by Hugo Martinez and Jonathan Reyes to premiere November 20 

AQUAVAX” a film by Tirzah Farley and Emily Grigor to premiere December 6


Author Talk

In Conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert
Wednesday, November 11 at 6:00 pm  


Book Discussions

Creative Quest by Questlove
Saturday, November 21 at 1:00 pm

Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor
Thursday, December 3 at 5:45 pm

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Saturday, December 5 at 2:00 pm

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit

This activity was supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles. Learn more at


   Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation LogoCalifornia Humanities Logo

National Arts and Disability Center Logo



Each year the Santa Barbara Reads program offers one title to the community with the goal that everyone will read the same book at the same time, sparking engagement and conversations about the themes in the book and how they relate to our lives.

For full program details view the Library's calendar of events

Santa Barbara Reads Previous Selections:

 2020  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
 2019 Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
 2018  Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley - Bicentennial publication anniversary 
 2017  Station Eleven (NEA Big Read) by Emily St. John Mandel 
 2016      Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson 
 2015 Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
 2014 The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan
 2013 Moonwalking with Einstein: the Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
 2013 The Things They Carried (NEA Big Read) by Tim O'Brien
 2012 Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn
 2011 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
 2010 Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
 2009 Fahrenheit 451 (NEA Big Read) by Ray Bradbury
 2009 Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
 2008 Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
 2008 The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
 2007 Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
 2007 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
 2007 Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert
 2006 My California: Journeys By Great Writers edited by Donna Wares
 2005 When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
 2004 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
 2003 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
 2002 The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
Last Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Top of Page