The Community Library Re-Imagined

The Re-Imagining of The Community Library, cultural hub of Ketchum and its surrounding areas, was enthusiastically embraced by Nicole Snyder Interiors. This unique, privately-funded public library embodies the spirit of its founders: a group of 17 forward-thinking, independent women who started the Library in 1955. Their legacy, together with extensive input from the community, staff, and board of trustees, informed every step of the design development – a multi-year process which required exceptional communication across such a wide range of stakeholders in the beloved community institution.

The 28,000 square foot space evokes a sense of place while also inspiring far-reaching imaginations. It is designed to promote connection, collaboration, escape, and lifelong wonder. Colors, materials, and furnishings weave together the local landscape, history, and culture. The design reflects the Library’s core philosophies in an understated and refined manner, providing a welcoming and flourishing environment – one that dignifies and celebrates the pursuits of each person who walks through the doors.

Nicole is honored to announce that The Community Library has been named a winner in the 2020 ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards (Link). To learn more about this prestigious international accolade, visit our awards page. (Link)


East Entrance, Foyer & Learning Commons:

The East Entry welcomes visitors from around the world and sets the tone for the whole facility. The spacious Foyer introduces design motifs and architectural elements that create cohesion throughout the Library, and it also begins the harmony between historic features – the glulam beams and reclaimed wood floor – and moments of modern elegance and even whimsy. A stunning Luccicoso Italian marble countertop with dramatic linear veining forms the main service desk, which is highlighted by delicate, hand-blown glass pendants suspended from the high ceiling.

The Foyer’s unexpected and most delightful function is that of a dynamic exhibition hall, with ample space for rotating exhibitions, from local history to art exhibits of international caliber. Upon the Library’s grand reopening, the Foyer displayed a collection of breathtaking works by artist Dale Chihuly and painter Seaver Leslie inspired by James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The process to create the luminous cylinders involved creating glass thread adaptations of Leslie’s paintings which were then fused onto the molten glass cylinder forms along with gold leaf. This unique intersection between the visual and literary arts created an ideal introduction to the Re-Imagined Library.

The Foyer also beckons patrons to visit the Learning Commons, a lively space with access to computer stations, the popular news and journal collection, and custom nooks for impromptu small group gatherings and private reading. Each workstation and study carrel is enclosed by unique transparent resin panels embedded with natural materials, suggestive of the Library’s deep roots in the community.


Fireplace, Lecture Hall, Conference Room, & Regional History:

As patrons walk into the main collection stacks, they are greeted by the inviting and impressive original stone fireplace. A massive painting of local legendary outdoorsman Taylor Williams, part of the Library’s permanent collection, adds a calming effect that again harkens the surrounding landscape. The Library’s vintage lounge chairs, freshly reupholstered in supple, European leather, invite rest, reflection, and casual conversation.

Beyond the fireplace, visitors follow a dynamic carpet pattern designed to promote natural wayfinding through the stacks and to gently refer to the rivers that are the valley’s lifeblood.

The spacious Lecture Hall feels comfortable and familiar, with the addition of colorful custom upholstery and selected Audubon artworks from the Library’s permanent collection. The dramatic ‘mountain of books’ marries the natural landscape with the intellectual landscape of the Library’s collection.

The Idaho Conference Room offers a professional meeting space expressing the Library’s connection with nature and local landmarks. A striking custom table was crafted of redwood repurposed from an old Sun Valley Resort water tank. Bright copper pendants drop between the rich wood ceiling rafters, highlighting the warm red tones in the table.

The Center for Regional History’s Betty Olsen Carr Reading Room quite literally places patrons in the past, as they tread upon fir floorboards, reclaimed from a barn that had stood for a century in the high desert of south central Idaho.


Children’s Link & Young Adult Lounge:

The west wing of the Library is devoted to the youngest patrons. The Link, the corridor that connects the main collection to the Children’s and Young Adult Libraries, provides more than a graceful transitional space: it invites reflection and a unique connection to an outdoor contemplative garden. From the Link, the Young Adult Lounge offers flexible seating to encourage dynamic interaction and learning, as well as window seats for more introspective time. Snowflake motifs – in a large scale across the ceiling and in smaller, subtle details throughout the space – celebrate the Wood River Valley’s world-famous winters.

The bright Children’s Library playfully brings the outdoors inside with references to the region’s brilliant blue skies, fresh green foliage, and mountains, all symbolizing an indoor garden of growth and learning. Custom-molded plywood chairs include the Library’s logo, and furnishings rest on casters to maximize flexibility for innovative programs. The Toddler Room creates a retreat in a corner of the Children’s Library, embellished by saturated, jewel tones and delicate blooming pendants.


Project Partners:

Morley Golden
Golden Edge Enterprises, Inc.

Dennis Humphries
RATIO Architects, Inc.

Adam Elias
Elias Construction, LLC

Rob King and Staci Page
Landwork Studio, LLC


Gibeon Photography