At 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22, readers from across the nation will gather by their TV sets, computers, tablets and phones to watch a historic reading of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel "Fahrenheit 451" streamed over YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. A librarian from The Seattle Public Library will be contributing to the reading from Seattle's Central Library.

"Fahrenheit 451" is a cautionary dystopian tale about the cost of apathy and the power of curiosity. It is one of the most checked-out books at libraries throughout the United States. Viewers of the Ray Bradbury Read-A-Thon will discover--or rediscover--this redemptive story that is as powerful today as it was when it was first written.

Beginning with introductions by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and author Neil Gaiman, this reading will include commentary by author Susan Orlean and others, as well as an extra reading by astronaut Charles Bolden Jr. The presentation is expected to be about six hours long. After the initial broadcast, the Read-A-Thon will be available until September 5, 2020 at


David Wright, Reader Services Librarian at The Seattle Public Library, will contribute two readings to the read-a-thon from Seattle's Central Library. Wright shared that he has been a lifelong fan of Ray Bradbury and has included his writings several times in Wright’s "Thrilling Tales: Storytime for Grownups" series.

"Bradbury is every bit as current as, say, the TV show Black Mirror," Wright said. "There are things in Fahrenheit 451 that still make one sit up and take notice, predictions that feel utterly timely and uncannily correct. This is because for all his futurism, Bradbury's subject has never been technology or ideas, but flesh and blood human beings. He sees into our hearts and knows our follies, and these haven't changed in seventy years or seventy centuries."

Other notable readers include actors William Shatner, Alley Mills Bean and James Reynolds; authors Neil Gaiman, Marlon James, Marjorie Liu, P. Djèlí Clark, Dr. Brenda Greene, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes and more.


This event is presented in partnership with the Library of Congress and more than 20 public and university libraries, library foundations and non-profit organizations across the United States.


Bradbury’s contribution to the literary landscape and our collective imagination made him one of the best-known writers of our time. His books now sit on library shelves alongside the works of authors he read in his youth at the Carnegie Library in Waukegan, Illinois. After his family moved to Los Angeles during the Great Depression, he discovered the stacks of the Venice library and many others: no matter where he lived, the library was his school. As Bradbury would later say: "I'm completely library educated. Libraries are absolutely at the center of my life. Since I couldn't afford to go to college, I attended the library three or four days a week from the age of eighteen on, and graduated from the library when I was twenty-eight."


All physical locations of The Seattle Public Library are closed in accordance with public health guidelines, but the Library now has book returns and curbside service available. Find out more at our Road to Reopening page. Find out more about The Seattle Public Library’s digital resources and services at