Glass cylinder

Glass cylinders by world-famous artist Dale Chihuly will be on display in the library during LitWalk. Artwork © Chihuly Studio.

Five years ago, The Community Library in Ketchum celebrated its 60th anniversary. To mark that occasion, the library launched an event called LitWalk.

In one jam-packed evening, library patrons were invited to explore the organization’s myriad offerings, across its four operative locations: the main library on Spruce Avenue, The Gold Mine, the Regional History Museum in Forest Service Park and Gold Mine Consign.

The premiere LitWalk was so popular, the library has reprised the event each successive year. The 2019 LitWalk will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 4:30-7 p.m.

“This year, it’s more exciting than ever,” said Carter Hedberg, the library’s director of philanthropy. “As we are celebrating 65 years, we are also celebrating the renovation of the library, which is about 90 percent complete.”

The massive renovation of the library has revamped the building inside and out, including its surrounding grounds. The full construction project is expected to conclude in October.

For now, though, the library still has plenty to celebrate—and plenty to show off—and LitWalk offers a perfect opportunity for just that.

Countless activities for children, teens and adults will be on offer across the four locations, including readings, games, raffles and live music.

The first thing that will strike most LitWalk participants will likely be the impressive new art installation in the library’s main foyer.

After its months-long renovation, the foyer finally reopened on July 1. The new lobby is more open and spacious than before.

“We envisioned an open entry like this, but we didn’t realize it would be so conducive to being a gallery space as well,” Hedberg said.

It is, certainly, conducive to art exhibition, and there is surely no better way to demonstrate that fact than with the current display, a series of striking glass cylinders depicting scenes from James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” crafted by world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly.

The artist has changed global perception of the potential and boundaries of large-scale blown glass projects and has exhibited in some of the most prestigious galleries and exhibition spaces in the world.

“It’s such an honor to host this exhibit,” Hedberg said. “This has only been shown twice before. It debuted in Dublin, which is appropriate, considering James Joyce, and the second time was at the Vassar College library. Now it’s here in Ketchum, Idaho.”

The display will remain in place for several months to come, and the library will likely plan some additional programming around it and “Ulysses.” For starters, during LitWalk, patrons will be invited to contribute to a film project, performing selected readings from the groundbreaking novel on the recently reopened front patio.

Inside the library, in the lecture hall, other readings will occur. LitWalkers will have the opportunity to enjoy a series of book readings by local authors and other significant personalities.

As of July 25, the list of readers included Mariel Hemingway, Neil Bradshaw, R.L. Rowsey, Sarah Sentilles, Julie Weston, Nick Neeley, Judith Freeman, Rebecca Rusch, Ridley Pearson, Carol and Scott Glenn and more.

Each of the readers will perform selections from their personal favorite literary works, except for the Glenns, who will read from their new book of poetry for the first time in a public setting.

Just in time for this event, the library will be opening its Fourth Street veranda, where children and adults alike will have plenty to enjoy among the plethora of outdoor activities there.

At the very least, patrons can step out, admire the new garden, take a breath of fresh air, enjoy some ice cream and marvel at what Hedberg bills as “the best views of Baldy in town.” Indeed, the veranda offers a breathtaking perspective on the area’s centerpiece ski mountain.

From here, a hop, skip and jump will land participants at the two Gold Mine locations, where they can enjoy food, drink and live music by local favorites Dewey, Pickett and Howe.

The library and Gold Mine events officially wrap up at 7 p.m., but that is hardly the end of the evening.

“The idea is that you can get your evening started here and then go over to Ketch’em Alive and check out the Regional History Museum,” Hedberg said.

Ketch’em Alive, the weekly free music series, always takes place in the Forest Service Park, just in front of the library’s museum, which maintains open hours during each concert throughout the summer. Here, in addition to the live music, both LitWalk participants and Ketch’em Alive revelers can snap a picture in an Ernest Hemingway booth alongside a photo of the famous author.

Hemingway will be quite the presence throughout LitWalk. Back at the library, the organization will unveil its new Hemingway walking tour phone app, which uses historical photographs from the Center for Regional History and highlights significant Hemingway-related points of interest around town.

“People are always hungry to have ways to celebrate Hemingway in our community,” Hedberg said. “This is a really tangible way. People can walk, explore and learn.”

Capping things off, the library will also raffle off some substantial items, including a 2019-20 Challenger Season Pass for Sun Valley and a Hemingway Package, which includes a visit to the Hemingway House, a night in the Hemingway Suite at the Sun Valley Lodge, a round of shooting at the gun club and a gift certificate to Michel’s, where Hemingway ate his last supper.

From hardcore James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway fans to children and casual revelers, this year’s LitWalk has something for everyone.

This event is free to attend. Visit comlib.org for details.

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