Ray Bradbury spent childhood afternoons dreaming in the Waukegan, Illinois library — and those dreams changed not just Bradbury’s world but the worlds of millions of readers. Bradbury, who authored such classic works as Fahrenheit 451, Marian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, is an American icon. Now there’s a plan afoot to take the small Waukegan library where he spent his formative years and turn it into a Bradbury museum. The library building has been closed for half a century.
A library could hardly have a better spokesperson for its intrinsic value than Ray Bradbury, who nourished his boundless imagination here. Efforts to revive the library in the past have failed, but the new plan to use the premises to honor Bradbury and his work has great connective tissue for success — the tissue Bradbury built with his fiction. To be called the Ray Bradbury Playhouse of the Mind, the museum project is being undertaken by the Ray Bradbury Waukegan Carnegie Library, Inc., a private effort hoping to raise $10 million and open by 2019. You can donate here. But if you’re strapped, don’t worry. Director John Harris has an idea that raising the money, given Bradbury’s wide influence, won’t be too difficult — or at least they’ve got a plan. “We’ve met actors, we’ve met writers, we’ve met Wall Street financiers, college professors who say ‘Ray Bradbury changed my life,'” Harris told the Alton Daily News. “So we’re going to need to tap into that vein.” Bradbury, who died in 2012, willed his private library to the Waukegan Public Library.