It’s no surprise that the brand new Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library was packed on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 29. Covered with Vonnegut quotes, pictures of and by the man and various relics from the author’s past, the library is a well-deserved shrine that any Vonnegut fan will enjoy the moment they enter. (See the Slideshow at the bottom of the post for images from the day!)
Julia Whitehead, executive director of the library, was almost impossible to catch up with, as she flitted from one person to the next, answering questions and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves.
“It’s wonderful to know our efforts have created a place people appreciate,” she told me. “I hope Vonnegut would have been honored.”
She added that the people who came and were interested in the library seemed to share very similar interests, about helping the environment, helping their fellow man, and that she was glad the event was a way to both “honor Kurt and share ideas.”
“All of this brings back a lot of memories,” said one attendee, Marian Towne, as she surveyed the specific collection of relics that inspired Slaughterhouse-Five. She recalled for me her move to Indiana in 1975 and the discovery that this was Vonnegut’s place of birth.
The opening ceremony was just the beginning. A gala is being planned for April 16, and Whitehead and others are already planning an epic birthday celebration on Nov. 11 for Vonnegut. Not to mention, they’ve already started an outreach program with Shortridge High School, both Vonnegut’s alma mater and very much underfunded. A grant has already been given for the school to start their own newspaper.
It may not be as large and impressive as the downtown public library, but the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is an essential destination Vonnegut fans to remember the genius who once graced this city and continue his legacy.