Northern Illinois University Libraries is asking local quilters for help in creating a memorial quilt dedicated to the victims of the Feb. 14 campus shooting that left six people, including the gunman, dead and 16 others injured. The king-size quilt will have 288 red, black and white squares, NIU associate professor Rebecca Martin said. The 11-by-11-inch fabric squares will be distributed to people in the community, who are invited to decorate them before returning them to the library. A group of library staffers will then assemble the decorated squares into a finished quilt, Martin said. “The idea of a quilt came about because it's something that gives comfort, and traditionally, it tells the story of a community,” she said. Participants are encouraged to be creative in how they design their tributes, Martin said, but some general guidelines will be distributed to everyone who picks up a square. The finished quilt will be permanently displayed at Founders Memorial Library, Martin said. She said it's appropriate that the memorial be housed in the same building as the Regional History Archives, which has thoroughly documented the event. The location of the final display has not yet been determined. Martin said she hopes the wider community will participate in creating the memorial. “When we talk about community, we want to include everyone in the community,” Martin said, “people from the DeKalb-Sycamore community as well as faculty, staff and students in the NIU community.”
To participate Any member of the community can pick up a free quilt square from the information desk inside Founders Memorial Library on Normal Road in DeKalb. The squares will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Squares can be picked up from Monday through April 8, and finished squares must be returned in person or by mail no later than April 30. For more information, call 815-753-9896.