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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of February 19 - 25, 2003


Library reflects changing times

Evolution of Hailey Public Library continues

Express Staff Writer

What are community libraries and what should they mean to us? The answer over time may come to mean many things, as it turns out.

The Hailey Public Library is a mirror of the growth and changes taking place in the town of Hailey.

One woman reflects those changes, both in her pursuits, her drive and her sophistication.

As the director of adult programs, access and acquisitions at the library, Lisa Horton (or Mrs. Big Bad Bill, to you) has helped to change the face of what this once small community library means to patrons.

When the library moved from a small house into the Fox Building in 1994, it was a lending library only.

A grant allowed the library to begin offering some adult programs. Someone on staff was required to stay late to oversee the programs and lock up afterward. Horton always volunteered. The next logical step was for her to actually plan, write the grant applications and organize the growing adult program.

It helped that Ann Tabler, library director, is a team player. "Whatever you’re really interested in doing, she knows you’ll do a good job," Horton said.

And Horton has a lot of interests. A native of Arkansas, she earned a master’s degree in garden anatomy and remains an avid gardener. Her husband Bill owns a music store in Hailey, across the street from the library. The name of his store, Big Bad Bill’s, is a joke, she said. "He loves kids."

Horton traveled extensively after college and lived for a year in Paris while studying to be a pastry chef at the Ritz Hotel’s Ecole de Gastronome Francaise Ritz-Escoffier. "It was the best year of my life," she said.

Eventually she was recruited to run the bakery at Ketchum’s Atkinsons’ Market, where she worked for six years. Horton inevitably grew antsy with the job and began to look for a change.

"I wanted something in Hailey and something with benefits," she laughed. "I also wanted something mentally challenging."

Though she isn’t a librarian, she said that her degree necessitated the ability to do a lot of research, which helps in her current position. Besides running the adult programs, she handles all inter-library loans, purchasing and subscriptions.

"We’re a close knit staff," Tabler said. There are four full-time employees and four part-timers. "Everyone’s job is multifaceted. Everyone enables everyone else to handle all their tasks. Lisa has just done a wonderful job."

In the past, Horton has organized various craft programs and historical programs, such as "Steinbeck Centennial," "We Are What We Eat"—everyone loves to talk about food, Horton said—and the "History of Mystery."

For the latter she brought in Rachel Farnsworth of the Idaho State Police Forensics Lab to lecture on "Trace Evidence for the Mystery Buff."

"Libraries these days are about information, not just books," she said. "It can be films, health, anything. We have to adapt to changing times. Libraries must become community centers."

In fact, Horton has been able to screen films for some of these series. For instance, there’s a screening of the film "To Kill a Mocking Bird" on Thursday as part of the current "Shaking the Family Tree" series.

Horton and musician Michael White, from Hailey, are hoping to create a musical series sometime in the future. After a screening of a Woody Guthrie documentary last fall during the "Steinbeck Centennial," White played Guthrie tunes to an appreciative audience.

Meanwhile, the library continues to grow. In 2002, there was a 58 percent increase in circulation and a 66 percent increase in membership.

"We like to think that people are rediscovering the libraries. Once they’re here for an event they want to see what else we have to offer," Tabler said.

The library, which is funded by city taxes and the largess of the Friends of the Hailey Public Library, recently was given the use of the entire first floor of the Fox Building by the city, adding approximately 1,500 more square feet. Despite this increase to approximately 8,000 square feet, "federal suggestions are for at least 10,000 square (feet) for a community this size," Tabler said.

The Friends of the Hailey Public Library are purchasing all the shelving for the new space. They raise much of their money with a Hailey garden tour each summer.

Horton maneuvers through the library with a gazillion things on her mind. There’s the current exhibit on loan from the Idaho State Historical Society on the history of Hispanic Culture in the state.

In April, she’s planning Día de los niños, Día de los libros (Day of the children, Day of the books). There is a bilingual reading series to work on, for which she received a grant from the nonprofit organization Human Pursuits in Salt Lake City. And there is a Library Fiesta to plan in early June, with foods, information booths and crafts. It will coincide with the Hailey Farmers’ Market which is right out the library’s front door on Croy Street, every Thursday in the season.

The "Shaking the Family Tree" series continues with the books "Dating Big Bird" and The World Below."

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