Frankenstein is alive and well in Ripley County. During the months of September and October the Batesville Memorial Public Library, Osgood Public Library, Tyson Library and the Ripley County Tourism Bureau will partner to celebrate Mary Shelley’s remarkable novel “Frankenstein,” which turned 200 in 2018.

The county celebration is part of a larger statewide initiative, One Story/One State: Frankenstein, designed by Indiana Humanities to encourage Hoosiers to read this classic novel. The story of the Frankenstein creature is one that is well known in pop culture, but the story of its creation and the larger personal and societal issues raised are even more fascinating. The story was written by a teenage girl, Mary Godwin Shelley, during a summer spent in the Swiss Alps with her husband-to-be, Percy Shelley, along with Lord Byron and other friends. When the weather turned cold, the group amused themselves by inventing scary stories and this was the birth of the Frankenstein creature.

“’Frankenstein’ is a powerful book that raises big questions about right and wrong, how we treat other people and the relationship between science and society,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “That’s what makes it such an important book to read as a community and as a state.” The Ripley County partnership will explore these and other personal and societal questions raised by the book through a variety of programs throughout a two-month period.

The book will be available at any of the partner libraries after Aug. 1. Some copies will be free while supplies last.

Activities will kick off Saturday Sept. 8, with “The Science of Frankenstein.” Professor Steve’s program will be held at the Milan Branch Library at 10 a.m., Tyson Library at 12:30 p.m. and Batesville library at 4 p.m. This educational program will be fun, interactive and great for all ages.

“A Visit with Mary Shelley” will take place at the Osgood Public Library Thursday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. and features Adrienne Provenzano in an intimate one-woman show.

“It’s Alive! Electricity, Cinema and Metaphor” features Matthew Weedman in an examination of how the invention of electricity birthed the interconnected lives of Frankenstein and cinema. This program will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Batesville Memorial Public Library.

“Frankenslam” features Adam Henze in a interactive poetry workshop where participants will use passages from Shelley’s book to write their own poetry. It will be held at the Tyson Library at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, and is for ages 12 and up. “Frankenfest” family fun will be held at Tyson Activity Center Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1-5 p.m. Activities include the Kids Discovery Factory, movie “Frankenweenie” and more.

The Gilmore and Golda Reynolds Foundation will help sponsor the original Boris Karloff movie “Frankenstein” at the Damm Theatre Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. and the Gibson Theatre will host “Young Frankenstein” Sunday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m.

And of course the reason for the activities is to commemorate the book “Frankenstein.” All three partner libraries will host book discussions facilitated by Nancy Durham: Osgood Public Library, Thursday, Oct. 4, 6 p.m.; Batesville Memorial Public Library, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.; and Tyson Library, Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m.

These are just a few of the many free activities planned as part of the Ripley County Community Read program. More information can be found at the libraries or Ripley County Tourism Bureau and will also soon be available on their websites or Facebook pages.

The local partnership evolved when the Osgood Public Library received a Community Read grant from Indiana Humanities to participate in this statewide reading program and then joined forces with the two other county libraries and tourism bureau.

Additional support has been provided by a grant from the Ripley County Community Foundation. One State/One Story: Frankenstein is an Indiana Humanities program and has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with the Indiana State Library and Indiana Center for the Book. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Article Contributed by Vicki Butz