When you’re in Indianapolis this winter, be advised: The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is set to open there this November.
The 1,100 square-foot Library, a labor of love for a Vonnegut fan who successfully sought support from the late author’s family, as well as former colleagues and fans from his old Hoosier State home. According the Times ArtsBeat blog, the library will exhibit first editions along with “boxes” of rejection letters from early in Vonnegut’s career, along with memorabilia from his WWII service (including his Purple Heart) and writing career (a replica of his studio, complete with his doodles and “cigarette-stained Smith Corona typewriter”).
The library is designed as a place for fans to engage with Kurt Vonnegut’s work, and a force for literacy in its community. They explain:
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library will serve as a memorial to the author’s literary greatness, his humanistic vision, and his adherence to quintessential American values. The library will exhibit literature, art, and personal items of Kurt Vonnegut. The library will serve both ardent Vonnegutians and newcomers to his unique wit and literary legacy. The library staff will act as docents at the library and coordinators for outreach activities. The library’s website will attract visitors to library events and assets.
In this unique artistic community center, visitors will be able to: browse a variety of books that are thematically linked to the life of Kurt Vonnegut; relax with a cup of coffee; view Vonnegut’s books, artwork, personal papers; attend a visiting writers lecture series; and participate in educational outreach through a partnership with local high schools, starting with the public school Kurt Vonnegut attended in Indianapolis, Shortridge High School. In 2010, The Foundation will make a presentation to Shortridge students on the life and works of Kurt Vonnegut as well as assist the school with the development of its student newspaper. The Library also plans to develop a literary magazine and to host writing events.
The Library’s planned work with the high school paper, especially, is a fitting tribute to Vonnegut, a chemistry and anthropology student who found his voice, in large part, by writing for student and local papers.