Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury at home with his wife, Maggie, in 1970 in a room lined with books. (Los Angeles Times / Los Angeles Times)

Iconic science-fiction author Ray Bradbury lived in Los Angeles for almost 80 years, but his books are heading back to his birthplace, Waukegan, Ill. His personal book collection will go the Waukegan Public Library.

Bradbury lived in Waukegan until he was 13, when his family moved away. Throughout his writing career, he returned to that Midwestern youth, from 1957's "Dandelion Wine" to "Something Wicked this Way Comes" in 1962 and his last novel, 2006's "Farewell Summer."

After his death last year at age 91, Illinois officials learned that the author had left his personal book collection to the Waukegan library on County Street. The local Daily Herald reports that "it's no small gift."

Waukegan library officials have been going through Bradbury's Los Angeles home to pack up the books. "Every room had a bookshelf overflowing," Rena Morrow, the library's marketing, programming, and exhibits manager, told the paper.

The local library hopes to create a permanent exhibition dedicated to Bradbury and his books -- both those he wrote and owned. Because his gift may include significant works, the Waukegan library may exchange books with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University.

Waukegan also has a park named after Ray Bradbury. Not to be outdone, Los Angeles has a square.

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