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Frankenstein Comes to Santa Barbara for the 17th Annual SB Reads

Each year the Santa Barbara Public Library offers one title to the community with the hope that everyone will read the same book at the same time. We hope that by doing this, we will spark conversations in the community about the themes of the book and how they relate to our lives. The Santa Barbara Public Library is excited to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus by offering the novel and related texts as the Santa Barbara Public Library System’s 17th annual Santa Barbara Read. Lauded as the first science fiction novel, Shelley’s 1818 classic explores themes such as prejudice, creation, the monstrous, and the ethics of scientific advancement.


In addition to Frankenstein, this year’s Santa Barbara Reads program will also offer free copies of related books for all ages, generously funded by the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. These books run the gamut of forms and genres—including board books, graphic novels, non-fiction texts, and more—and provide several different entry points for readers to delve into Mary Shelley’s life, the science of Frankenstein, and the themes of the novel.

The community is invited to kick off Santa Barbara Reads this Friday, September 28 with an all ages after hours MakeSB! event at the Central Library with music, crafting, and the giveaway of Frankenstein and related books. Attendees will be able to bring to life their own creations with metal stamping, button-making, and typewriting while listening to live music from Ezra Michel, Slanted Land, and Luminesse Divina. There will be refreshments and prizes. The event starts at 6:00 PM and everyone is welcome until 9:00 PM.


This year's Santa Barbara Reads keynote will be held at the Central Library on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 PM. UCSB Professor of English, Julie Carlson, PhD and Associate Professor of English, Janis Caldwell, MD, PhD will discuss how an unwed teenage mother brought a new writing genre, science fiction, to life and the ways in which her legacy still reaches us today. The Central Library will be closing early on this day at 6:00 PM to allow for the event.

As the month of October comes to an end, the community can celebrate Santa Barbara Reads on Friday, October 26 at 6:30 PM and dance the night away with DJ Orbs at Frankenstein's Ghoul Ball and Costume Contest. Prizes for costumes will be given in the categories of Frankenstein-Themed and The Romantic Era, with an additional overall Grand Prize winner. Individual and group costumes encouraged.

The over 60 Santa Barbara Reads events being held throughout the community can be seen in the online schedule ( or pick up an SB Reads booklet at any of the Santa Barbara Public Libraries beginning October 1.

Frankenstein and the related texts will be given away at several Santa Barbara Reads events as well as at random bookdrops throughout the community over the course of the month. Follow the Santa Barbara Public Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get these updates.




Contact: Lisa Neubert, Programming Librarian

Phone: 805-564-5605



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