Happy Birthday, Octavia! The Octavia Lab Celebrates its First Anniversary

Sara Rebman, Librarian, Children's Literature Department,
Octavia Butler and the Central Library makerspace lab named in her honor.
Octavia E. Butler at the Central Library in 1995. (With the Lab named in her honor). Photo courtesy of the Estate of Octavia E. Butler

Who was Octavia E. Butler?

Octavia E. Butler was a science fiction author who had a very close connection to the Los Angeles Public Library and made an impact on our organization, community, and the world that will last forever. This month we are celebrating her birthday on June 22nd and the first anniversary of the Octavia Lab at Central Library.

During her career Octavia published 12 novels and a book of short stories. She won many science fiction writing awards, including the Hugo and Nebula Awards, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship. Her work in speculative fiction made a profound impact on the genre and will continue to influence authors of diverse backgrounds into the future.

The library was an important part of Octavia’s life and in return, she was and continues to be an important part of our organization. She did a great deal of research for her writing at Central Library and volunteered as a reading tutor for our adult literacy program that still thrives today. In June of 2019, the makerspace in Central Library opened and it was named the Octavia Lab in her honor.

What is the Octavia Lab?

The Octavia Lab is a do-it-yourself studio space. Inside the lab there are many different tools people can use to work on their own projects, including a laser cutter, sewing machines, 3-D printer, green screen and more!

In the first year that the Octavia Lab has been open we have registered over 1,200 users. We have kept over 1,200 appointments and our lab members have completed roughly 900 projects.

During the COVID-19 crisis the library and the Octavia Lab were closed to the public. However, the ingenuity of people can never be stopped. The lab staff have used the equipment to create medical personal protective equipment (PPE) for local hospitals.

Below is a list of all of Octavia’s works; if you have never read one of her books, now is a perfect time. Keep a lookout all this month for blogs that celebrate Octavia Butler’s legacy in the science fiction genre as we explore authors she has influenced, her younger years, and great science fiction books for adults, teens, and children!

Works by Octavia E. Butler

Book cover for Kindred
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Fledgling
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Bloodchild and Other Stories
Bloodchild and Other Stories
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Unexpected Stories
Unexpected Stories
Butler, Octavia E.

Parable or Earthseed Series

Description: A gifted woman tries to find family and community in post-apocalyptic California.

Book cover for Parable of the Sower
Parable of the Sower
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Parable of the Talents
Parable of the Talents
Butler, Octavia E.

Patternist Series

Description: A young woman struggles to avoid the mind control of the immortal Doro, who is attempting to create a new race with powers like his own.

Book cover for Wild Seed
Wild Seed
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Mind of My Mind
Mind of My Mind
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Clay's Ark
Clay's Ark
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Patternmaster
Butler, Octavia E.

A race of telepaths has taken over the earth, with the most powerful telepaths oppressing and enslaving everyone else. Coransee, son of the Patternmaster, wants to take his father’s place ruling the world, but must defeat his brother Teray first.

Xenogenesis or Lilith’s Brood Series

Description: After a nuclear holocaust the human race has become infertile. The Oankali, an alien race, offer to save them by creating a new type of being with their shared genetic material.

Book cover for Dawn
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis
Adulthood Rites: Xenogenesis
Butler, Octavia E.

Book cover for Imago
Butler, Octavia E.