Click the book jacket images above to navigate to each year's selection. You'll find more information on the books and their authors and links to book recommendations and other resources related to each book.Click the titles below for that year's resource guide (PDF format).
What is Santa Monica Reads?Santa Monica Reads is a community reading program that invites Santa Monica residents and visitors to read the same book and then come together in book discussions and special events to talk about it.
How long has the program been going?The program started in 2003 as Santa Monica Citywide Reads. With the 2013 series, the program was rebranded as Santa Monica Reads. In 2014, SMPL was awarded a grant to present from the NEA to present The Big Read. Santa Monica Reads went on hiatus for 2014 and resumes in 2015.
How are books selected?Each spring, the Santa Monica Public Library solicits recommendations of novels from the public through flyers, an online website form, and at library and community events. A group of librarians cuts this longer suggestion list down to a manageable short list of five or six nominees, then an Advisory Committee comprised of librarians, educators, Friends of the Library members, and city commissioners reads each of those nominees over the summer. At the end of the summer, the Advisory Committee meets to discuss the books and a selection is made. Selections are usually announced in the early fall of each year. In the case of The Big Read, grant awardees select a book from a list of 36 titles supported by the granting organization.
How can I participate in Santa Monica Reads?Read the book, then join us at any of the many discussions we have or at one or more of our special events. Santa Monica Reads usually takes place in late winter/early spring. Check the library's website or calendar of events for more information on Santa Monica Reads events as they are scheduled.
How can I volunteer to be a discussion leader?Each year, we train a group of discussion facilitators to lead book discussions in venues held throughout the city. Shortly after we announce each year's selection in the late fall, we put out a call for volunteers in our monthly calendar and in advertisements in the Main Library lobby. You can volunteer any time you are interested though. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make a note of your interest and contact you again once the call for volunteers has been released.
What types of events happen during Santa Monica Reads?In addition to book discussions held throughout the city over a four to five week period, we host additional special events related to each year's selection. In the past, these events have included author talks with that year's author (if they are living and able to join us), special events related to the subject matter of the book, lectures by scholars on topics related to the book, as well concerts, readings, and movie screenings. And like all Santa Monica Public Library events, all Santa Monica Reads events are free and open to the public.