Vietnam-era Huey Helicopter at Central Library

The Santa Barbara Public Library System kicks off its community reading program, The Big Read, on Thursday, October 3 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Local veterans will be on hand to give tours of a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter in front of the Library, at 40 E. Anapamu St. The exhibit is to draw attention to the library’s five-week program focused on the book, The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien’s semi-autobiographical account of a young platoon on a battlefield without a front, dodging sniper fire and their own misgivings. The Library has copies of the book in paperback to loan, and the eBook may be downloaded from its web site at

A documentary film, Where Soldiers Come From, will be screened Friday, October 4 at 7 p.m. at the Central Library with free admission. This award-winning film gives an intimate look at some of the young men who fight our wars and the families and town they come from. The director follows these young men as they grow and change from teenagers stuck in their town, to National Guard soldiers looking for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, to 23-year-old veterans dealing with the silent war wounds of Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. This screening will be followed by a short audience discussion.

The first discussion panel that will talk about the book and the issues it raises will be held on Tuesday, October 8 at 6 p.m. at the Eastside Library, located at 1102 E. Montecito St. in Santa Barbara. Panelists include Raymond Morua, veteran of the war in Iraq and District Representative for Congresswoman Lois Capps; Jon Parra, Coordinator of Veteran and Military Services at UCSB and Army veteran; and Hazel Blankenship, director of Claeyssens Veteran’s Museum. Everyone is welcome, whether they have read the book or not.

Program events include film screenings, panel discussions with veterans, professors and military-related persons, and theatrical presentations at local libraries and other venues. A full list of The Big Read events may be found at The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. All Library programs are FREE and open to the public.


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