Every President since Herbert Hoover has established a Presidential Library in their home state to preserve and celebrate their legacy, and this will be Obama’s, in Illinois. More than simply a museum or library documenting the past, Obama hopes the complex will be “a campus for active citizenship…that helps to build our collective future”.
The main museum building is a tower representing “ascension, hope and what ordinary people have the power to do together”. The design was inspired by a picture of four hands coming together, which is perfectly clear… if you use a little imagination. Inside, besides an exhibition telling Obama’s story, will be a basketball court, yoga space and a test kitchen, to reflect his administration’s emphasis on healthy lifestyles.
Controversy is building from some of the local communities who object to a proposed car park, and more than 100 faculty members of the nearby University of Chicago, while supporting the centre being close to the campus, have criticised plans on economic and preservation grounds. The project is predicted to cost up to $1.5bn and be completed by 2021.
And despite the incumbent President being decidedly less of a reader (while still a very stable genius), another library that opened its doors (briefly) in Chicago in late 2017 was the Trump Presidential Twitter Library. It was created by The Daily Show to showcase “the finest works from Trump’s Twitter collection”. The installation allowed visitors to play with a ‘Trump nickname generator’ to find out if they’d be described as an ‘airhead’ or ‘flunky’, among many other potential insults, and roleplay behind a replica of the desk in the Oval Office to see if they could send a tweet within 30 seconds to avert, or divert attention away from, a damaging crisis. Take your own tour, it’s truly covfefe.
And remember, anyone who wants some brand new books for a group that encourages reading and could use more books but doesn’t have ready access can write to The Big Issue’s Big Book Giveaway and tell us what you need and why.