Staff Report

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—sparking conversations in the community about the themes of the book and how they relate to our lives.

This year, the library is excited to feature Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus  as our community reading program.  Now in its 200th year of publication, and 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.

The local Santa Ynez Valley libraries have planned events for all ages, beginning with a Ghost Story Challenge, for adults and teens.  (Mary 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 October 23 to submit a 500 word mysterious or scary story related to the supernatural.  How to submit: send your story in the body of an email (no attachments please) to, including your name, phone number, and age category: Adult (18+) or Teen (6th -12th grade).  A panel of professional authors will judge the entries, and the winners will be read aloud at the SBReads Frankenstein  Book discussion event on October 30th  in the Santa Ynez Valley (Venue TBA).  All submissions will be published online.

Free craft events are planned: for ages 7 and up, Buellton Library will offer a MakeDo Frankenstein Cardboard event on Saturday October 6 at 2:00 pm.  MakeDo kits allow for fast and fun imaginative cardboard construction: participants will construct a larger than life Frankenstein. And, for adults, teens and tweens, Solvang Library will host FrankenZines on Saturday October 13,  at 2:00 pm.  Bring your own original, handmade Zine to life with collage, foldouts, and more!  (A zine is a small, self-published magazine)  All materials are supplied for these events, participants should register online at to make sure there is space.

The Buellton Bookworms will discuss Frankenstein on Friday October 19 at 1:00 pm at Buellton Library

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

A double feature of the original Frankenstein movies will be shown at Solvang Library on Saturday October 27: at 1 pm, the original 1931 “Frankenstein,” with Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, and Mae Clarke; at 2:30 pm, the 1935 “Bride of Frankenstein,” with Elsa Lanchester, Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and more.  These are the classic James Whale films made at Universal studios.

For preschoolers, a Costume Storytime and Frankentoys Craft will be offered at Buellton Library on Monday October 29,  at 11:00 am.

Solvang Library’s final SB Reads Frankenstein Book Discussion event will be held on October 30th at 6 pm, when the Ghost Story Challenge winners will also be announced and read aloud. Call the library to find out the venue for this evening!

Many more events are planned throughout the Santa Barbara Libraries: over 60 Santa Barbara Reads events 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.

Copies of 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.