Ray Bradbury and His Library

As a boy, Ray Bradbury spent countless hours at the Carnegie Library. Photo courtesy of the Bradbury Trust.

As a boy, Ray Bradbury spent countless hours at the Carnegie Library. Photo courtesy of the Bradbury Trust.

From the time he was a small boy living on St. James Street in Waukegan, Illinois, Ray Bradbury spent endless hours reading books and magazines at the Carnegie Library at 1 North Sheridan Road.

What the Carnegie Library Meant to Ray Bradbury

“Libraries raised me!” Bradbury asserted. In a Chicago Tribune article he said, "Waukegan pervades all of my work, and the library especially. I'm a library-educated person. I got my education in that library until I was 13.” 

What Ray Bradbury Went On to Accomplish

From his humble beginnings in Waukegan, Ray Bradbury went on to be the author of more than three dozen books, including Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Hundreds of short stories poured out of his imagination to delight readers all over the world. He wrote for the theater, cinema, and TV. Notably, he authored the screenplay for John Huston’s Moby Dick and the Emmy Award–winning teleplay The Halloween Tree. He was famous for his work in television, adapting for TV sixty-five of his stories for The Ray Bradbury Theater

I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves—you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.
— Ray Bradbury

What Ray Bradbury Means to America

On November 15, 2000 at the National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City, the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation conferred its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters upon Ray Bradbury, stating: 

Mr. Bradbury's life work has proclaimed the incalculable value of reading; the perils of censorship; and the vital importance of building a better, more beautiful future for ourselves and our children through self-knowledge, education, and creative, life-affirming attentiveness and risk-taking.

Ray Bradbury was the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation and numerous other honors.