An Australian Couple Rediscovers the “Community” in The Community Library
Newlyweds Katherine Suttor and James Stanton recently returned to The Community Library to reflect on an old family tradition and delight in new discoveries. . .from the Library’s programs to the learning tools to puzzles and musical instruments, and oh, the books.
“I remember discovering the Library all those years ago with my mum,” says Katherine. “Mum has always been an avid reader, and I would have lots of fun roaming through the Library shelves and picking out my summer reads. Getting a stack of books to take home was a keystone part of our trip.”
Katherine’s parents fell in love with Ketchum/Sun Valley 30 years ago when they first arrived at the invitation of a mutual friend to the Australian celeb and local jazz pianist, Alan Pennay.
While it’s not uncommon for the Valley to see regular visitors returning for seasons of sun and snow, Katherine’s family made an annual tradition of the 8,000-mile trip … from Sydney Harbour, over the Coral Sea, and across the Northern Pacific Ocean to the remote regions of southern Idaho.
Winter in Ketchum is summer in Australia and the family spent all seven weeks of their down-under vacation time across the world and up in the mountains–skiing, reading, playing, and socializing in Ketchum/Sun Valley.
“Coming to the Library is a nice way to feel like a local, like I’m part of the community.”Katherine Suttor
“Mum would put us in ski school where we were often the only kids to hang around for seven weeks straight,” recalls Katherine with a wry nod to those early years, freeing her parents to have the days to ski on their own.
Nearly three decades later, Katherine brought her then boyfriend, now husband, James, to the Library. Wandering through the stacks, James stumbled upon the music section. “I couldn’t believe that I could actually borrow a guitar and check it out from the Library, just like a book,” says James. “I thought it must be a mistake.”
But he got a Library card, checked out a guitar, and “one of the first things we did,” he says, “was to perform for family and friends.”
“My whole family used Library services over the years,” says Katherine. “My sister and I both used language learning tools through the library. My mother would come here and take courses to learn emerging technology.”
When Katherine was studying for her entrance exam to the Harvard MBA program, she spent her holiday in Ketchum, skiing in the morning, and studying at the Library in the afternoons/evenings. She says it was her home away from home away from home.
Even Katherine’s father, Michael Suttor, a preeminent architect in Australia, got in on the action, and did a presentation on classical architecture in the Library. “There’s something here for everyone in my family,” says Katherine, “and now for James, too.”
New to the area, James has discovered the Community Library as a landmark that orients his way. “If I can find the Library,” he says, “I know where I’m at.”
“I love it so much here in Ketchum and Sun Valley,” says Katherine. “Coming to the Library makes me feel like a local, like I’m part of the community.”
Though the structure of the Library has changed over 30 years, a few things remain the same for Katherine and her family: The iconic fireplace that welcomes your arrival, and the sense of belonging…halfway across the world from home.
# # #