News & Events - Press Releases

10. Weippe Public Library & Discovery Center

Press Contact: Terri Summerfield, 208-435-4058

Web Site: and

photo of two boys touching hides on display in an exhibit
Left to right: Director Terri Summerfield, Cokie Roberts, Acting Board Chair Marjorie Kuchynka, Community Member Gradi Thomson, and Susan Hildreth. Click image to access full-size version.

In this remote, mountainous region, the Weippe Public Library & Discovery Center is a valued community resource, which, through imaginative partnerships, brought high-speed Internet service to the tiny town of Weippe and nearby communities and will soon expand the current library-centered cell phone service to serve the entire community. The library helps residents apply for jobs and unemployment assistance and learn basic computer skills. It also channels the abundant energy of youngsters into positive pathways, using both high-tech electronic games and LEGOs®.  Area children compete in LEGOs-sponsored problem-solving challenges that reflect real-world situations. Preschool children benefit from First Books, a program that provides free books and offers storytelling services, and the library is working with area schools on programs to improve math and reading scores. The library also operates the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and is working to form partnerships that will bring tourism-related jobs to the area in an effort to end persistent unemployment.

Community Member: Gradi Thomson
Gradi Thomson and her family moved to Weippe, Idaho from Tucson, Arizona in the summer of 2008. While in Arizona, visiting the library wasn’t a family tradition. After one visit to the Weippe Library, the Thomson family was pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful things it had to offer, including a safe and inviting atmosphere. For them, it quickly became a home away from home. Gradi credits the Weippe Public Library for helping her family get acclimated to their new town. The library helped her family learn the history of the area, including the flora and fauna. The library’s full service computer area helped Gradi keep up with her bills through online bill pay. She loves the freedom of going to a small town library. She enjoys the programs offered to children and the access to unlimited books and material through the Weippe Public Library network.

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R_ID):
"The Weippe Public Library & Discovery Center is serving the central Idaho community with innovative approaches to lifelong learning. The educational, economic, and social contributions the library has made to the community make this highest honor well deserved."

U.S. Representative Raúl R. Labrador (R_ID_01):
"I want to congratulate everyone involved with Weippe Public Library & Discovery Center on this stellar achievement. To say that Weippe Public Library does more with less would be an understatement. It is so much more than a lending library; it is a hub for all of the communities it serves and for citizens of all ages and needs. It is a modern, 21st century learning, educational, and civic facility that exemplifies the 'can-do' spirit rural communities in Idaho are well-respected for. I hope other communities can follow Weippe Public Library's example and I hope this library has continued success for many years to come."