The Community Library: A Great Success Story

Several months ago, I exchanged e-mails with Colleen Daly, the Executive Director of The Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho. I was taken by the fact that a library existed with absolutely no government support. I went to their site to find out more about who they are and what they offer to the community.

Frankly, I was inspired both by the humble origins of the library and their continuing success. I asked Ms. Daly for permission to share the history of The Community Library with our readers and bloggers.  I have copied the history from their site:

In 1955, a group of pioneering women decided that one important thing missing in the Wood River Valley was a free public library. The tax base at the time was too small to support a library, and although they had no money, no books, and no building, they were undaunted.

The founding members of the library each contributed one dollar to the treasury, and then the hard work began. They opened the Gold Mine Thrift Shop in an abandoned miner's shack and canvassed the community for used goods, books, a parcel of land, architectural plans, and building skills. They raised funds with bridge parties, home tours, and tea dances. Within two years, they had enough to break ground.

In 1957, the Community Library opened in the building which today houses the Gold Mine Thrift Shop. Almost twenty years later, in 1976, the library moved to its current site and expanded to double the original size in 1986. The Lecture Room and Audio-Visual room were added in 1989. An addition housing the Children's Room was added in 1996, and the Reference Room and Regional History Department were expanded the same year.

The Community Library was established and continues to run today without funds from any federal, state, or local agency and without ever borrowing a single penny. For over four decades the Library has been supported by generous contributions from the community, imaginative fundraisers, and donations to the Gold Mine.

Please join us in supporting the Library, an invaluable community resource.