Indianapolis Celebrates Freedom to Read Week with a “Prisoner,” a Sneak Peek at Our New Building, and a Week of Programming Sept. 22-27, 2019!


We’re working, planning, and fundraising to get our new building at 543 Indiana Avenue ready for a grand opening in November. In the meantime, we invite you to stop by the new location for a special Sneak Peek during Freedom to Read Week (also known as the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week) beginning Sunday, September 22.

Freedom to Read Week and Banned Books Week are one and the same, but some folks thought we were celebrating the banning of books! Um, ya, no! As most of you know, we have always celebrated the First Amendment and the freedoms it allows and will continue to do so, but now we’re calling the celebration Freedom to Read. Different name, same great cause with unique, related programming.

So join us and the folks from Bluebeard Restaurant for this special week.


Meet Our 24/7 Teacher-in-Residence Brett Stoker from Tipton High School, who is also one of the school’s football coaches. He’s our “prisoner” this year, spending the week in the Vonnegut Library to raise awareness of censorship. Be sure to stop by and hang out with him for a while.




Championing the First Amendment

At our new home at 543 Indiana Avenue

  • Sneak Peek at our new building
  • Food compliments of Bluebeard
  • Meet our Freedom to Read “prisoner” Tipton High School teacher and football coach Brett Stoker
  • Beer and wine for purchase
  • Sun: Noon – 5 PM
  • Mon-Fri: Unless otherwise noted, doors open @ 5 PM
  • $20 Admission/Day or $100 for the Week on
  • $15/Day or $75/Week Student Admission on (with Student ID at door)
  • $25/Day at the door


Sunday, September 22


Kurt’s ‘Forever Home’ Kickoff Party

  • Come tailgate and watch the Colts’ first home game.
  • Hear local middle school boy band Newer Edition.
  • Meet our Freedom to Read “prisoner” Brett Stoker (he’ll be here all week).

Buy Tickets Here

 Monday, September 23

6 PM

CENSORED Double Feature

  • Dig into the history of censorship and book banning through the lens of Ray Bradbury with Jonathan R. Eller, IUPUI Chancellor’s Professor of English; Director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.

8 PM

  • Night 1 of our First Amendment Film Festival: Good Night and Good Luck

Buy Tickets Here

Tuesday, September 24

6 PM

Co-Ed Night at the Museum

  • Learn how the Freedom to Read is threatened by publishing trends, cuts to libraries, and more with Lucinda Nord, Executive Director, Indiana Library Federation.

8 PM

  • Night 2 of our First Amendment Film Festival: Footloose (1984 original)

Buy Tickets Here

Wednesday, September 25

6 PM

How to Run for President — From Jail

  • Join us for an intimate look at Vonnegut hero and free speech warrior Eugene V. Debs. Debra Des Vignes, founder of the Indiana Prison Writers Workshop, introduces the keepers of Debs’ legacy at the Eugene V. Debs Museum and Foundation for an informative dialogue on the struggle for free speech. Then former Indiana poet laureate Shari Wagner debuts a new poem inspired by Debs.

8 PM

  • Night 3 of our First Amendment Film Festival: Malcolm X (1992)

Buy Tickets Here

Thursday, September 26

11 AM

Vonnegut Book Club

  • Bring your copy of Slaughterhouse-Five for a discussion of Vonnegut’s most famous banned book led by KVML historian Bill Briscoe. (NOTE: This event is free to the public.)

6 PM

Jazz Party on Indiana Avenue

  • Listen to local legend Dan Wakefield, keyboardist Carl Hines, and author Aleta Hodge (Indiana Avenue: Life and Musical Journey From 1915 to 2015) tell tales of the legendary Indiana Avenue jazz scene.

8 PM

Performance by The Groove 4tet

  • Featuring Indy-based all-stars Clint Breeze (drums), Jared Thompson (saxophone), Nick Tucker (bass), and Christopher Pitts (keys) playing jazz standards and originals.

Buy Tickets Here

Friday, September 27 

6 PM

First Amendment Trivial Pursuit

  • Test your Freedom of Speech cred at Trivia Night with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

8 PM

Performance by The Emerson Connection

  • Check out eight local high school students — who’ll be on the Jazz ConNext stage at Indy Jazz Fest this year — playing swinging modern jazz.

Buy Tickets Here

“Free Speech 50” Sponsors (It’s not too late to join this list!)

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is opening at a new location later this fall at 543 Indiana Avenue. One of our permanent exhibitions focuses on Freedom of Expression. You are invited to become one of 50 donors (individuals or corporations) to contribute $500 to support the creation of phase one of this important educational exhibition. Donor names will be displayed at the exhibit and highlighted in future newsletters and select event programs. Thanks to those who have already donated:

  • Anonymous Gift in Honor of Brett Stoker
  • Theresa and Terrian Barnes
  • Sharon D. Battista
  • Jim and Becky Brown Family Foundation
  • The Charles Bruce Foundation
  • Craig and Andrea Carmichael
  • Dr. David A. and Mrs. Mary F. Cory
  • Nicholas Croce
  • James Forest Day on behalf of Montana Wildhack
  • DePauw University Libraries
  • Juliet and Alan Duncanson
  • Valerie Elliott
  • Mary Lee Gambone
  • Matthew and Anne Gillingham
  • Gregory & Appel Insurance
  • Fred Greybar
  • Sarah Harrell and Kristin Cutler
  • Paige Christine Harrington
  • Heartland Hemp and Supply Co.
  • James Lucas Jones and Jennie Jones
  • David and Mimi Lepreau Jose
  • Victor R. Jose
  • Katz.Korin.Cunningham
  • Matthew Knoy
  • The Lafave Family
  • Marshal A. Miller
  • Frank Noge
  • John and Lisa Nolan
  • Brock Noseworthy
  • In Memory of Daniel W. Pfaff
  • Mark Remington
  • Patrick Rummel
  • Stephanie Salter and Gabriel Fenoglio
  • Bonnie Schall
  • Kimann and Mike Schultz
  • Sherwin Williams (Downtown Location)
  • Kurt Simerman
  • Candace and Neil Teixeira
  • Kevin Toner and Susan Toner

Join us! Call KVML CEO Julia Whitehead (317) 652-1954 to learn how you can help make history with your contribution. Click here for more info and a donation form. Thank you for your support!