Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Community Library hires new leader

Jennifer Emery Davidson was previously local CSI director

Express Staff Writer

Dr. Jenny Davidson is leaving her position as director of the local College of Southern Idaho campus to be the executive director of The Community Library in Ketchum. Courtesy photo

    The nonprofit Community Library in Ketchum has hired a well-known Wood River Valley resident to guide the library through impending changes.
    The library announced Monday that Jennifer Emery Davidson, the director of the College of Southern Idaho’s Blaine County Center from 2004 to 2013, has been hired to be the library’s executive director. Beginning Dec. 1, she will replace Cynthia Dillon at The Community Library. Dillon resigned Aug. 22, citing personal reasons.
    The Community Library’s board of directors conducted a search for qualified applicants following Dillon’s announcement of her departure and hoped to find a local candidate.     
    “We could not have hoped for a better candidate: an experienced educational leader with solid roots in this community,” said Lyman Drake, Community Library board chairman. “[Davidson] has a passionate intellectual curiosity and believes strongly in the library’s educational mission.”
    Davidson’s seven-page-long resume contains a laundry list of accomplishments and experience. She taught American literature at the Universidad de Guanajuato on a Fulbright Fellowship, has a decade’s worth of teaching experience in the liberal arts field at CSI, received her doctorate in American Studies from the University of Utah and volunteers for a variety of local nonprofit organizations. Davidson has also served as a trustee of The Community Library and is the author of several publications.
    Her academic background is grounded by her lifelong interest in the American West, both historical and literary.
    “I am eager and honored to work with the library’s talented staff and dedicated trustees, and to be surrounded by such a tremendous collection of books and regional history in both the library and the new museum,” Davidson said.
    Davidson lives in Hailey with her husband, Mark, who is the Idaho Water Project director for Trout Unlimited. She’s originally from Twin Falls.     
    The Community Library announced plans to “reimagine” the facility earlier this year. Under Colorado-based architect Dennis Humphries, the library is embarking on a project to transform the library to reflect its place in the community and reinforce the regional beauty of the valley.
    Humphries has held several public meetings in Ketchum, and Davidson will undoubtedly be involved with the library’s changing tide.
    Davidson said the reimagining sessions “illustrated how deeply connected so many people feel” toward the library.
    “The writer Wallace Stegner called for the West to develop a ‘civilization to match its scenery,’” she said. “Here in the spectacular landscape of central Idaho, The Community Library helps make that happen.”
    Davidson went on to say that libraries hold a fundamental civic function and she’s heartened by the way they “open the world to people.”
    “My own library card is well-worn,” she said.

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