24hrs with a Local

24hrs with a Local: The Community Library’s Dr. Jenny Emery Davidson, April

In this monthly series, we check in with one of our adventurous locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley.

April showers bring, well, you know the rest. Spring has officially landed in Sun Valley with its season-bending weather patterns and the last days of skiing on Baldy and the Nordic trails. While we collectively shake off winter and crane our necks to glimpse the warmer days ahead, there is plenty of excitement to be found right here, in this often-unpredictable month.

For this 24hrs Sun Valley – April edition, we connected with Dr. Jenny Emery Davidson, Executive Director of The Community Library in Ketchum. Jenny has been at the helm of the library for the past six years, working alongside the Board of Directors and a team of dedicated staff to bring “information, ideas, and individuals together to enhance the cultural life of the community.”

Over the past year, the community has demonstrated how highly they value that connection to information and ideas. “We’re circulating as many, if not more, books – both physical books and digital downloads,” says Jenny. “People are hungry to read as a way to stay connected, to be enriched, and even to get distracted from the tumult of the world at times. It’s been great to be able to respond to that need.”

Except for the initial shelter-in-place order in March and April of 2020, The Community Library has been open continuously throughout the pandemic. With careful safety mitigations in place, the library staff welcomes patrons into the newly renovated facility to browse the stacks, flip through magazines, use the computers and wi-fi, and check out materials. The library also offers curbside book pickup and a robust selection of digital offerings like e-books, online magazines, movies, and audiobooks.

To provide another outlet for the community to interact during these distanced times, The Community Library moved their popular series of lectures and discussions online. Recent talks include “Hemingway and the Natural World” moderated by Jenny and featuring Ken Burns, Sarah Botstein, and Terry Tempest Williams (watch the replay) and “Cheryl Calling: A Conversation with Cheryl Strayed” (watch the replay).

The Fall 2019 completion of the library’s extensive remodel was an unexpected silver lining to the past year’s disruptions. “I feel so fortunate to have completed the library renovation,” shares Jenny. “Because of the renovation, we have the technology infrastructure for live-streaming, an automated book return, a self-checkout system, a new ventilation system, and more space—all of those factors made it possible to navigate the pandemic safely.”

How would Jenny spend a perfect April day in the Sun Valley area? Let’s find out.

What would you do first on your perfect April day?

It’s always very enticing to me to just continue to sit in bed and immerse myself in a great novel. But given that it’s April, there are a lot of exciting things happening in the bird world and that can be exhilarating. So I would push myself to get up before sunrise, make some authoritative coffee, and head south with my husband Mark to the high desert just outside of Carey to find a lek [where sage grouse perform their courtship displays]. The male sage grouse balloon out their chests and fan their tail feathers, calling out with a deep, watery, thumping sound. It’s quite the performance, and in a year with no live theater, this is a kind of theater that’s hard to beat.

On the way back, we’d weave through Silver Creek Preserve to listen and watch for sandhill cranes jumping, dancing, and calling. Surely, we’d also hear a lot of red-winged blackbirds and yellow-headed blackbirds calling along the creek there. April spring mornings are lively for birds.

That’s an early morning! What would you do for brunch?

I’d keep driving north to Hailey and get a late breakfast / early lunch at Café Della. I’d eat one of their delicious egg sandwiches and probably drink another cup of coffee. I may also pick up one or two of their delicious cookies.

How would you enjoy the afternoon?

The weather can be quite erratic during springtime in the Wood River Valley, so maybe it’s a day of broken clouds, with rain coming through. I’d enjoy finding a snug corner – perhaps at the windows along the Contemplative Garden – at The Community Library and paging through a stack of books for the afternoon.

Is there anything in particular that you’d read?

I always love to turn to Willa Cather. I could very much imagine myself reading Death Comes for the Archbishop or The Professor’s House. During the pandemic, I’ve also been reading Louise Penny mysteries, set in the fictional town of Three Pines, Canada.

Recently, during the Library’s Winter Read of the novel Kindred, I began exploring more speculative fiction. It’s like science fiction, but more imagining different worlds that you might want to inhabit. For that, I’ve been reading Nigerian American author Nnedi Okorafor.

What would you do for evening food and drink?

I’d stop at CK’s in Hailey for a cocktail, the Thing #1. Then perhaps a pizza from Enoteca and a slice of Vita’s Seven Layer Cake from Cookbook [both in Ketchum].

Is there anything you’d do to round out your April day?

I love my neighborhood here in Hailey. Mark and I have an aging German Shorthaired Pointer, Bill, who wouldn’t necessarily accompany us on all of the adventures of the day. We’d take him up the Toe of the Hill Trail and enjoy the sun setting behind Della Mountain while taking in the peaceful sounds of the neighborhood at the end of the day.

Thanks for joining us for a little insight on what a perfect 24hrs in Sun Valley looks like in April from a local’s perspective!

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