Before I begin my February essays, I'd like to call attention to a very special project that has been making waves in the Chicago literary community. Despite these waves, there is plenty of much-needed help and attention. The Chicago Underground Library has established a new home at 621 West Belmont Avenue in Chicago (just off Broadway), and I was fortunate enough to attend a community meeting last weekend. The CUL is an organization that I would write about regardless of whether or not I was involved, but I'm planning on lending a hand wherever I can.
Founded by Nell Taylor, CUL is a collection of zines, books, magazines, journals and personal submissions culled together to create a literary history of Chicago, from the unknown to the esteemed. The operation is growing, with submissions always welcome, extensive cataloguing still needing help and completion, and the goal of creating a complete web database of files and PDFs, cataloguing the collection and creating a map of Chicago's DIY literary culture, with an emphasis on collaboration and open availability for research projects.
While this is the bulk of CUL's goal, there are some wonderful projects in the works, including public readings, creative writing workshops, a blog of Chicago's book community both past and present, and an open space for writers and artists in need of work space or feedback.
Please visit the link above to get the full effect of CUL's offerings. The Library is always in need of help in cataloguing, and the current cataloguing sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 7-10pm, and weekends from 1-5pm. To join the mailing list, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. As I get myself more involved in the future, I'll post updates and events for anyone who is interested. This group has an incredible goal, and the full catalogue of Chicago writings is already both invaluable and rare. With more help and additions, this has the potential to be a literary landmark in the city of Chicago.