Vonnegut Library Moving
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Seeks $750,000 for Permanent Home
Nonprofit plans to build new interactive Slaughterhouse-Five exhibition, provide troubled youth with suicide prevention skills through personal narrative, and anchor itself in an Indianapolis neighborhood that Vonnegut loved
Indianapolis, IN- The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library (KVML) is raising $750,000 to move into a new building on Massachusetts Avenue (Mass Ave) in Indianapolis that will quadruple its space and enable the organization to offer more exhibitions and programs. KVML is a nonprofit museum and cultural resource center dedicated to championing the life of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut and the principles of free expression, common decency and peaceful coexistence he advocated.
“We are thrilled to have found our permanent home. Now we just need all Vonnegut fans – locally, nationally and globally- to support us in raising the $750,000 needed by July 1st to make it happen,” says KVML founder and CEO Julia Whitehead. “While this building will serve as our national research, tour, and program center, our chapters and individual partnerships with universities, middle and high schools, and public libraries around the country will benefit from our expanded space and programming. We hope Vonnegut fans everywhere will pitch in for Kurt.”
In 2011, the library opened its doors in an 1,100 square foot space donated by Katz & Korin, PC, and the location is now listed for sale. The ever-growing success of the Vonnegut Library helped create both a practical and logistical mandate for relocation. A search by the KVML relocation committee, headed by Kimann Schultz, Huffington Post blogger and community advocate, with the help of Mark Vonnegut, Kurt’s son, led the committee and its board to 646 Mass Ave.
“Our committee is comprised of experts in many fields, so the search perspective was many faceted and founded on solid principles. 646 Mass Ave struck us all – immediately – by its ‘just right’ qualities,” Schultz says. “Our impressions were substantiated by careful analysis done in tandem with our agents at Reliant Partners and further explored with Scott Vonnegut, licensed architect and Kurt’s nephew, in addition to local architect Mike Engledow of ArcDesign.”
The new location, a 5,400 square foot building, will provide more space for KVML’s large collection, much of which is currently in storage due to lack of space. With expanded galleries at 646 Mass Ave, the Vonnegut Library will be able to also launch two new exhibitions: an interactive Slaughterhouse-Five exhibition and a permanent exhibition centered on banned books and censorship.
On April 8, 2017, KVML will celebrate its grand opening and a renaming as The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. “When the Vonnegut Library opened five years ago, it introduced a whole new generation to the life’s work of one of our city’s finest native sons,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “The Library has been recognized as one of the things that makes Indianapolis so distinct. It is such a rare place, and indeed one of our great treasures.”
In addition to museum tours about Vonnegut’s life and work and a lending library housed in a replica of Vonnegut’s own writing room, the organization will provide teacher training on best practices for teaching Vonnegut and similar texts, and conduct veterans creative writing workshops and book discussion groups. Dozens of arts and humanities events for the general public will be held each year. With this move, the KVML, in partnership with local professional soccer team Indy Eleven, will also launch a suicide prevention and anti-bullying writing program for middle school students, programs on the power of personal narrative. This programming is meant to address concerns related to Indiana being ranked number one in the nation for teenage suicidal thoughts and number two in the nation for actual teenage suicide attempts. Kurt Vonnegut struggled with PTSD and depression throughout his life, and his mother committed suicide. The $750,000 fundraising goal for July 1st is part of a larger $2.5 million campaign to incorporate this and other programming over four years.
Educational initiatives are just one aspect of new programming. The KVML also will serve as a voter registration location. The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library has been nationally recognized for its efforts against literary censorship and promoting social justice and continues to grow its star on both national and global maps as a unique destination.
“Our organization is becoming an integral part of the City of Indianapolis’s identity. Vonnegut said famously that Indianapolis, when he was 9 years old, was what felt like home to him. We are endeavoring to make Indianapolis his permanent home and the place where Vonnegut fans can make their pilgrimage,” said Kip Tew, former board chairman and now head of the capital campaign. “This city is where the tribute to one of Americas great writers should be, and it is my hope and belief that as we continue to expand we will help to brand our city as a cultural destination and the birthplace of the great Kurt Vonnegut.”
Donations can be made online at www.vonnegutlibrary.org/capitalcampaign, where photos of 646 Mass Ave can also be found. You can also donate by sending a check to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, 340 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204, and writing “646 Mass Ave” in the memo line. For more information, you can reach the Vonnegut Library by phone or email.
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library champions the legacy of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut and the principles of free expression, common decency, and peaceful coexistence he advocated. www.vonnegutlibrary.org