On September 23, 2010, The Ray Charles Memorial Library opened its door to a glowing tribute to Ray Charles …the man, the entertainer, the musician, the philanthropist, the businessman and genius. This library is the first of its kind to be built and created for an artist. It is a unique and historic tribute that has ordinarily been awarded to Presidents of this country. The Library is a commemorative venue to preserve and promote Ray Charles’s triumph in overcoming challenge and culminating his life. Moreover, The Library is designed to inspire the lives of young students intellectually and artistically. It is our hope that Mr. Charles’s life-story of adversity and success will ignite the hope and inspiration of countless youth of all races and economic backgrounds.
The primary focus of The Ray Charles Memorial Library is to help schools and students find a way to infuse music back into the curriculum of our schools. With so many schools not having adequate music programs, the mission of The Library is to provide an avenue for young children to experience music and art in a way that will inspire their creativity and imagination. It is the vision of this library to create a platform for school children to tap into their artistic minds and stimulate their senses.
The facility houses actual musical compositions of Ray Charles; high-tech interactive displays that offer young students a unique opportunity to stimulate their creativity and participate in a world of music and arts by allowing them to create music in an interactive music studio setting; The Library displays thousands of photographs of this music legend and musical compositions of Ray Charles; there are displays and videos of never before seen video and film of Ray Charles. The library also displays plaques, awards and numerous personal items belonging to Ray Charles, including but not limited to his personal clothing and musical instruments. This combination of memorabilia and history provides a forum to educate students about the triumph of perseverance, vision and hope over challenge and adversity.
The Library is a state of the art facility with interactive media presentations and exhibits, some of which include special software to allow visitors to ‘remix’ some of Ray Charles’s songs themselves. The goal of The Library is not only to provide information about the life of Ray Charles, but also to teach the visitors about music and its importance in all of our lives. Without this type of foundation, many great artists like Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones would have been unrecognized and ordinary members of the community.
The Ray Charles Memorial Library encourages classroom visits and will have activities for the group’s self-guided tour through The Library. Access to The Library is by appointment only.