Join the Culinary Literacy Center for an Open House on February 12

By Meredith M. RSS Fri, February 2, 2024

You might not expect to find blenders, cutting boards, or rolling pins in a library. You probably wouldn't expect to find a full commercial kitchen in one either. But on the fourth floor of Parkway Central Library, you can find all that and more in the Culinary Literacy Center — because the Free Library is home to the country's first teaching kitchen in a public library!

The Culinary Literacy Center opened in 2014. Since its inception, this space has acted as a model and inspiration for libraries all over the globe looking to bring culinary literacy to their patrons. Over the past ten years, the kitchen has hosted hundreds of programs, bringing together thousands of people from all over Philadelphia to learn and cook together in our culinary classroom.

Currently, the Culinary Literacy Center focuses on our three flagship programs: Edible Alphabet, Healthy Communities, and Nourishing Literacy.

  • Edible Alphabet helps English language learners learn a new language through cooking, working together to prepare recipes, and practicing conversation skills.
  • Healthy Communities offers programs informed by BIPOC communities, using plant-forward recipes to explore Latinx and African culinary traditions.
  • Nourishing Literacy brings culinary literacy to the library’s youngest patrons, combining good food with fun activities for children of all ages to inspire lifelong healthy habits.

These flagship programs are all funded in part by generous financial support from Culinary Literacy Center donors.

As the Culinary Literacy Center begins a new era in this new year, we invite you to join us for an Open House event on Monday, February 12, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Our doors will be open and you’ll have the opportunity to check out this unique space. Take the gold elevators to the fourth floor and follow the signs to visit. Staff members will be present to share information about upcoming programs and initiatives, as well as answer any questions you might have. No registration is required and all ages are welcome!


Culinary Literacy Center kitchen

Culinary Literacy Center classroom


Once you’ve explored our culinary classroom, be sure to stick around for that evening’s Author Event as award-winning author and illustrator Grace Lin chats with acclaimed restaurateur Ellen Yin about Lin’s new book: Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite American Chinese Foods. This is a pay-what-you-wish event, with a signing to follow and copies of the book available for purchase.

We hope to see you in the kitchen on February 12!

For any questions related to the upcoming open house or the Culinary Literacy Center, please email

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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