Staff Report

This year, the Santa Barbara Public Library will feature Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus” in its reading program that is designed to spark a community conversation by encouraging everyone to read the same book at the same time.

Now in its 200th year of publication, and praised as the first science fiction novel, Shelley’s 1818 classic explores themes such as prejudice, creation, the monstrous, and the ethics of scientific advancement.

Santa Ynez Valley libraries have planned events for all ages, beginning with a Ghost Story Challenge for adults and teens. (Shelley’s novel was written in response to a challenge by Lord Byron to his circle of friends, to write a ghost story in one week.)

Library patrons will have until Oct. 23 to submit a 500-word mysterious or scary story related to the supernatural. To submit it, send the story in the body of an email (no attachments) to, including the writer’s name, phone number, and age category: Adult (18 or older) or Teen (sixth through 12th grade).

A panel of professional authors will judge the entries, and the winners will be announced and read aloud at the SBReads Frankenstein book discussion at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at a venue in the Santa Ynez Valley that is still to be determined. All submissions will be published online.

The Buellton Bookworms will discuss “Frankenstein” at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at Buellton Library

An illustrated lecture exploring “The Mythology of Halloween” by Arthur George, cultural historian and scholar of mythology, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Solvang Library. George, author of the blog “Mythology Matters,” will examine not only the early beginnings of this popular holiday but the myths that have grown up around it.

A double feature of the original Frankenstein movies will be shown on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Solvang Library. At 1 p.m. will be the original 1931 “Frankenstein” with Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Mae Clarke; at 2:30 pm, the 1935 “Bride of Frankenstein” with Elsa Lanchester, Karloff, Clive and more.

For preschoolers, a Costume Storytime and Frankentoys Craft will be offered at Buellton Library at 11 a.m. Monday Oct. 29.

More than 60 Santa Barbara Reads events are listed in an online schedule at and in a booklet available at any of the Santa Barbara Public Libraries.

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