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Author Bradbury remembered in native Waukegan

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Author Ray Bradbury was remembered Wednesday night as a sci-fi visionary after the Waukegan native died Tuesday night at the age of 91.

Bradbury is best known for Fahrenheit 451 and Wednesday night passages were read aloud in his honor during a candlelight ceremony.

Bradbury began his long relationship with the library as a young boy growing up in Waukegan. He once said that every Monday he would run to the old Carnegie Library where he would pour over books from his favorite authors. He said he loved opening the library door so he could look and listen to all my friends.

At the Waukegan Library a candlelight vigil to honor the treasures and legacy of the science fiction pioneer. Bradbury friends, residents and avid readers reflected on his impact on the community.

Bradbury never went to college but he always said the he got his education at the old Carnegie Library. It left such a lasting impression that he used the building as a setting for several of his short stories.

Bradbury wrote 27 novels and more than 600 short stories, scripted the 1956 film Fahrenheit 451 and wrote for The Twilight Zone.

In 1965, the Waukegan Public Library opened in a more spacious location leaving the Carnegie Library empty. When Bradbury caught word that it was going to be demolished, he interceded and waged a successful bid to save it. He said it was payback for all the years the library came to his aid.

The science fiction pioneer lived by one motto: Do something creative every day.

Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and JK Rowling all credit Bradbury for their inspiration.

When asked what Bradbury wanted on his tombstone, he replied, "Here lies a man who loved life from beginning to end and is sorry it's over."

The city wants to build a statue to honor the iconic writer and the Waukegan mayor is planning to ask the College of Lake County to rename its location the Bradbury Campus.

His legacy will live on in the popular books that fill the shelves of the Waukegan Library and libraries all over the country.

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