Grants help fund festival on ‘Frankenstein’

A storyteller who knows about the life of Mary Shelley will come to the area to speak about the author’s most famous novel.

Students who can’t yet read Shelley’s “Frankenstein” will be able to do STEM lessons about science, a major theme in the novel, and walk down a specially themed story walk that centers on the monster and his story.

The Johnson County Public Library received five grants, each worth $1,000, from Indiana Humanities to plan programming and a festival that will concentrate on the novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley.

Each of the library’s four branches in Franklin, Trafalgar, White River Township and Clark-Pleasant received a grant. The fifth grant will be used to plan a festival in Franklin in the fall for everything Frankenstein, said Sarah Taylor, programming manager for the Johnson County Public Library.

The novel turns 200 in 2018 and librarians wanted to find a way to honor the story. A major theme of the novel is science, which is still applicable today, she said.

“It starts a conversation we are looking at all the time,” she said.

Part of the grant ensures that each branch in the library system will receive 200 copies of the story with activities and other programming that will lead up to the festival, Taylor said.

A readathon and stories in the story walk will be a part of the festival, with the idea to get the entire community reading together, she said.

“What (we want) to do is to empower the community to read and to talk about the things they are reading,” she said.

Writing workshops will also be a part of the festival as well as speakers who can tell audience members what life was like when Shelley wrote her novel. Other activities are still being planned, Taylor said.

The novel itself is meant for an adult audience, but librarians are planning activities to reach the youngsters too, Taylor said.

The character Frankenstein is a cultural icon and youngsters still recognize the creature, even if they don’t know the story behind him, she said.

“Frankenstein has become such a large cultural phenomenon,” she said.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.