. . . a trailblazing past and present . . .
In 1955, seventeen forward-thinking women founded The Community Library Association as a privately-funded, privately-governed, and publicly-minded library to encourage intellectual and creative adventures in the remote mountains of central Idaho. The Library continues to serve a diverse population across a wide geography.
Mission and Priorities
The Community Library brings information, ideas, and individuals together to enhance the cultural life of the community.
We strive to promote literacy | encourage community conversations | provide contemplative space | foster creativity | deepen a sense of place in central Idaho
In 1955, seventeen women founded The Community Library Association, Inc. They opened the Gold Mine Thrift Store in a one-room log cabin to earn funds to build a library for the Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Triumph areas. They envisioned an independent cultural institution that could provide free access to books.
Two years later, they opened a new building in downtown Ketchum. The Library kept growing: In 1977, a new 8,500 square-foot facility was built (its current site), and the original Library building was converted into the Gold Mine retail outlet. In 1986, the Library doubled its size, followed by the additions of the Children’s Library and the Regional History Department in 1997.
The Library was renovated in 2019, and today, it encompasses nearly 28,000 square feet. It includes additional locations of the Regional History Museum (added in 2014) and the historic Hemingway House and Preserve (acquired in 2017). It also operates the Bloom book truck throughout Blaine County in the summer months with The Hunger Coalition.
Today, nearly 5,000 people hold Library cards here (for free! for everyone!); tens of thousands come through the doors each year; and people from around the world tune in to programs.
This is a place of many things. But before all else, it is a place where we connect, through stories and to one another. A place for lifelong wonder, quiet escape, and spirited collaboration. Forget “for the people;” our organization was founded and thrives today because it is “of the people”: of a trailblazing past and present, of daring innovation and “can do” creativity, of diversity, inclusion, and understanding, of ideas, literacy, and knowledge, in each of their ever-changing forms. Our mission is to bring information, ideas, and individuals together to enhance the cultural life of our community. Bring means bring. Not sit back, or wait. It is within all of us to inspire, motivate, facilitate, and challenge one another to new thinking. Passionately. Because history and culture and ideas are not only held here, they are born here.